The Impossible Task: Students Trying to Pay Bills and Gain Work Experience are Unable to Do So

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Chelsea Mckinnon and Xochitl Quinonez

As the coronavirus began to quickly affect the Los Angeles area, many companies decided to close their doors to customers in order to maintain the health of the community. Many upperclassmen students at Da Vinci Schools work for a variety of companies and have been affected by the precautions companies are taking to maintain their employees’ and the public’s safety.  

On Sunday night, March 15, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an emergency action to close bars, nightclubs, restaurants (with the exception of takeout and delivery), entertainment venues, and gyms in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

Many restaurants and stores have decided to take extra precautions in addition to following the rules Garcetti enforced. At stores, limit restrictions are being set in place in order to minimize the amount of hoarding by customers. Some restaurants have decided to switch to drive-thru only or are only allowing a minimum number of people within the store at a time during pick-ups as well as other health implications. 

All workers are given plastic gloves with disinfectant power, to kill any sort of bacteria on our hands, to wear at all times,” said junior and Chick-Fil-A employee in the South Bay, Romario Linares.“We have also completely closed the dine-in area to the public, meaning customers cannot come into the restaurant at all and have to order through drive-thru only.”

Other companies have also been forced to shut down due to the Health Offical’s Order that states that events and gathering places of 50 or more are prohibited until April 1st. Senior Vienna Perez works at AdventurePlex, a place where children can challenge themselves physically and intellectually in a safe, structured environment. With the continuous spread of the coronavirus, AdventurePlex has chosen to remain closed until April 30. 

My place of work has been highly affected by the coronavirus due to our facility being a public family place where many people come and go and use our play structures, rockwall, rope course, and all the things we had available,” said Perez. “Because there are so many people who enter and exit our facility along with touch everything, we had to close for the safety of the staff and guests.”

Many customers at both restaurants and stores have become more concerned with their safety when visiting these places specifically. Customers have been seen wiping down tables that employees wiped down prior to their visit and are wearing masks to grocery stores.  

“I’ve had to reassure many customers that we often clean our money,” said senior Malachi Hudshon, an employee at Vons in Redondo Beach. “People need to stay calm.” 

As a result of the coronavirus, many companies have offered employees additional benefits in order to comply with their needs. Senior Amber Keyes is currently employed at the In-n-Out Burger in Compton. In-n-Out was one of the many companies that have complied with their employees during this time. 

“When the school first shut down, they emailed every associate within the company and mentioned they are offering an increase in complementary sick hours to corroborate with associates during this hectic time,” said Keyes. 

Through this difficult time, many employees in Southern California of a variety of companies are also experiencing losing their jobs or even a pay cut due to the loss of hours being worked. Keyes’s schedule has changed drastically from working four days a week down to two days a week, which is about a fifteen-hour pay difference.

“I haven’t seen any financial effects because I haven’t received my paycheck for this pay period yet,” said Keyes. “In the future, I think I will have to end up choosing between a bill and eating out because of the difference in my hours.”