Student workers hit hard from the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak has led the world into a frenzy, and businesses all over the world are being affected in some way or another. With the pandemic causing people to have to self-quarantine and social distance, the impact it has had on student’s jobs was simply inevitable.

This pandemic has been especially hard-hitting on small businesses, forcing them to adapt to this new and unexpected situation in ways they never thought they would have to.

Senior Amber Guerra, who works at Papa Dante’s Italian Restaurant, has been told not to come to work along with the rest of her coworkers, and the restaurant has been forced to only do takeout.

“Right now, they’re trying really hard to promote their food because they are not getting a lot of business. Every time I drive past there, there’s only like one or two cars. And they thrive off of dine-in because they don’t have a drive-thru,” Guerra said.

The restaurant is a family-operated business and is now having to try and run the restaurant by themselves.

“Since it’s a family business, the whole family is working there. Basically, they control the front and there are one or two chefs there, but some of them are also not coming in,” Guerra said.

Some students are still being told to come to work, but are getting reduced hours, like junior Sadio Abdi who works at Whataburger.

“I only work like four hours a week now. I used to work like at least 12 or 15, but now I only work four,” Abdi said.

Whataburger has also been forced to stop customers from dining-in, causing people to have to work less than before.

“It has been less busy and everybody that used to work in the lobby now works in the back, so it’s a lot of people now. Since the lobby is closed and we can’t have people together, there isn’t a place where some people can work, so people either get sent home early or they go on break,” Abdi said.

Senior Julianna Martinez, who works as a cashier at H-E-B, has also been given reduced hours.

“[Last] week, I just went back and they just started cutting hours. They pretty much gave everybody like three days. They cut everybody’s hours, everybody was looking for shifts, and nobody could really find any. So far, hours have been reduced as of last week,” Martinez said.

Because they’re getting reduced hours, paychecks are also being affected. For Martinez, H-E-B actually gave them a raise. 

“They did give us a two-dollar raise, which kind of makes up for [the reduction of hours] because I’ll get the same paycheck as if I were doing regular hours with regular pay,” Martinez said.

One reason for people to leave their houses is for something we all need to survive: food. For this reason, grocery stores like H-E-B still remain open despite the lockdown and are obviously being impacted regardless. 

“There have been a lot of people, but H-E-B did this thing where everybody stands in one line and then we have two people directing where people go, so it doesn’t look like we have a long line as usual. It’s just two people at each line and then they bring more people out,” Martinez said. “Customers sometimes get mad at us for things we can’t control during this time.”

The coronavirus has undeniably been a huge impact on workers and businesses everywhere, and the weight of it all rests heavily on the shoulders of every person in the nation. Whether it’s working too much or too little, stressing about your pay, fearing about your health, or worrying about family and friends, we can only hope that the end of this pandemic can come soon.


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