Teens Still Working During COVID-19

Although many businesses have been letting people go, others have been hiring new employees and teens have found jobs. But at what cost?


Dylan Stern

Protective equipment like gloves, masks, and shields is part of the standard outfit for many new teenage workers.

Especially during the summer, many teens tend to get jobs. But with the pandemic causing the economy to suffer and businesses to close, some students wonder whether they would be able to find employment. And for those that did find jobs, their working circumstances have changed significantly. 

Senior Taylor Smith got a job as a hostess at Ramsey’s.

“Working while we have so much time on our hands is a great way to make money, and it’s better than laying around all day,” she said.

Ramsey’s does temperature checks every day. Employees are also required to wear a mask while working. 

Most, if not all, places require a mask for workers. Junior Claire Arbra started working at McAlister’s Deli, and she is also required to wear a mask during her shift.

Arbra thought that it may be easier to get a job during COVID than it was before, considering that many people have quit in fear and more places might be looking to hire. 

This may be true for some businesses, but not all.

“It’s harder to get hired because most businesses are looking to hire older people because of unemployment,” junior Lauren Alexander, who works at Chick-Fil-A, said. 

The luxury of being able to work during this time also brings fear.

Junior Amanda Dawson works at Kroger where she said she has to occasionally help customers who told her they had COVID-19.

“Though Kroger does its best to keep not only the workers but the customers safe as well, there have been times where I was scared and was put in a position where I did not feel comfortable,” she said.

Because of the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19, some workers are not allowed to remove their masks to drink water. This means that for four to five hours, employees working under the hot sun are not able to have water or food.

This isn’t the only complaint employees have while working their shift. 

“Some customers come into the restaurant without masks, and that it isn’t fair for us to be wearing a mask when the person I am providing a service to won’t make the extra effort to put on a mask to ensure not only mine but their safety as well,” senior Ryan Johnson, who works at Moe’s Southwest Grill, said.

Despite the challenges, all these students said they would recommend getting a job during the pandemic whether it be to help family with expenses, to stay sane amidst the boredom of quarantines, or just to make money.