It feels like it was just yesterday that my coworker told me that it is only a matter of time before our schools shut down due to COVID-19. I didn’t believe her for a second. Two days later, I unknowingly walked out of school for the last time of my junior year.
I have been working as a server at a large senior living community for about a year now. Many changes took place as soon as the virus hit Michigan, like spreading the tables out between three dining rooms. The other servers and I began to take extra precautions, like wearing gloves at all times.
Once Governor Whitmer signed the “Stay home, Stay safe” order, all employees were given letters stating that our jobs are an essential service, and we must leave our homes in order to provide food for the residents. We were told to show the letter if we were stopped by police on the way to work.
Last week, it came to our attention that an employee in a separate department of the building tested positive for COVID-19. The employee, however, has not been in contact with another employee or resident since they started showing symptoms. Therefore, they were not deemed as a threat to the facility.
Working with the elderly who are the most vulnerable to the virus has opened my eyes, more than anything, to the severity and seriousness of this pandemic. A month ago, our biggest concerns were residents asking us about our tattoos or our grades at school. Now, our biggest concerns are our residents contracting a virus that would likely wipe out the whole community, if not properly contained. Our hearts go out to all workers that don’t have the option of keeping their distance, and those who see the raw effects of the pandemic.