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Working Food Service During the Pandemic: A Server’s Point of View.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

On a regular day at work, I make milkshakes and serve food. Often times, I double up as a cashier and take people’s orders. I ask them if they need anything and they usually ask for ketchup, even though it’s right there on the counter.

More often than not, they don’t wear a mask.

This is a reality that a lot of people who work retail in Florida are dealing with. We are in year three of the pandemic and it feels like people have decided that the need for caution is over.

There are no mandates in the state for people to wear their masks, despite Florida remaining a hot spot for COVID and its newest variants.

What they may not tell you is that due to how lax the state’s laws are on COVID, there are people who been exposed coming into work, people coming in without masks and workers not using masks while serving people.

With all the talk about worker’s shortage in the industry and how managers and restaurant owners are being affected, I have seen very little about what it’s like to actually be the person working that job.

A few weeks into my training, I overheard someone say they most likely had COVID as they came into work. Within the week, we were so short staffed we had to close early for three days and only take-out orders for two more. Through all of this, we never received a text or an email saying that we had worked alongside someone who had been exposed.

Weeks later, we are still short staffed, which means those of us who are there have to double on our duties and do the job of multiple workers. As of now, we’re serving people again and they’re still not wearing masks. 

Florida isn’t taking the pandemic seriously, despite it still being a very real thing. It could be argued that it never took it seriously to begin with. People are going out like there isn’t a virus spreading and straining hospitals to this day and because of this mentality we’re expected to work in this environment and put ourselves at risk if we want the luxury of being able to afford to make rent and live. We’re seen as expendable and put at risk both by customers and the work industry. I can’t really do much about this. Just like everyone who works, I have to do it to survive.

I know that people want to get back to normal, but wanting for things to be normal doesn’t make them so.

The pandemic is very real and it is still affecting people. When you go out, you are not just risking yourself, but everyone you interact with. Those of us who work don’t have a choice in protecting ourselves. 

So, it would mean a lot if you protected us. 

The pandemic isn’t over. So, next time you go outside, wear a mask!

Ana Cedeno is a student at Florida International University, where they are pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in English and minoring in Social Media Marketing. They are also in the Pride Student Union and are the social media manager of FIU's Pride Honors College. In the past, they pursued an Associate's Degree in Journalism at Broward College, and have been published by The Observer, HerCampusBC (Broward College) where they were editors and even grassroots publications such as Rise Miami News where they were contributing writers. Currently they are trying to build their writing portfolio and make it through these new times as a college student while consuming way too much cafe bustelo. They have an interest in sustainability and zoology and a penchant for focusing on them but are a jack of all trades when it comes to what they write about.
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