By Shayne Watson
Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed the reopening of many businesses during Florida’s “Phase 1” plan on May 4. Prior to Phase 1, many businesses were temporarily closed. Restaurants were only doing to-go orders, and grocery stores seemed to be the only thing fully open.
The start of the reopening process began with slowly allowing employees to work back in the buildings again and by allowing customers to come in person as well.
Adjusting to the new regulations the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed has been quite the challenge for college students trying to make money but stay safe at the same time.
Celina Tram, a freshman at Seminole State, works as a hostess at The Cheesecake Factory. She said she had to make a lot of changes once she came back to work, including wearing masks and gloves, frequently sanitizing menus and doors, checking temperatures daily and getting used to the reduced seating due to social distancing.
“Food service is very ‘hands-on,’ and we are in close contact with food products so following all the procedures is our number one priority,” Tram said.
Guests who enter the restaurant must wear a mask as well and remain socially distanced in the waiting area. Tram said she believes that these extra precautions help the safety of not only the employees, but also the guests who take the chance to go out and help businesses out during these tight times.
Sometimes ensuring the safety of others isn’t the easiest thing to do.
College sophomore Kaitlyn Hawkins works at a hospital and spends her day transporting patients to and from testing centers.
She said her job hasn’t changed too much, except now her main focus is to make sure all the patients are wearing their masks and following procedures.
The hospital sees a lot of older people who don’t particularly like to wear mask and will often complain to Hawkins.
“Every time I tell people to wear their mask, I get a lot of interesting looks,” Hawkins said. “People always want to complain saying it’s uncomfortable, but you’re in a hospital where sick people are everywhere, a mask is absolutely required.”
With the increase of COVID-19 cases, business in Hawkins’ department actually went down. The hospital hasn’t been taking as many “non-emergency” patients, leaving more room for COVID-19 patients.
Despite many companies having their business slows down, or even shut down completely, places like Publix have actually spiked in business.
Seminole State sophomore Emma Bundy, who works as a cashier at Publix, struggled to keep up with the constant rush every day.
“Once we got over the hump of being non-stop busy for weeks, adjusting to the new regulations were quite easy for everyone,” Bundy said.
With recommended social distancing placed inside grocery stores, it is easy for stores to fill up due to the amount of space needed between customers.
Adjusting might have been a rough start at first, but now it has become the new norm for the time being. Students have found ways. To make a smooth transition while still keeping themselves and others safe during this pandemic.