BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Traditionally, jobs can be a great way for students to experience customer service, socialize with other co-workers, and earn money. However, essential workers have been put at a larger risk for COVID-19, even with the additional precautions put in by employers.  Despite the risks, many students took on jobs that put them in contact with other people.

Senior Isabella Dutra works at Stop and Shop and was a little apprehensive about the new working conditions. “At first I was a little nervous how everything would operate, but my job assured me by offering me and my coworkers an endless supply of gloves, masks, and sanitizer and disinfection products to keep us clean and healthy while working”. 

By providing employees with PPE, masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves, companies are reassuring customers and employees of their safety in the workplace. 

Sign Up for Berkeley Heights Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

James Rubino, a sophomore who works as a lifeguard at the YMCA, took notice of how his job changed due to the safety measures. “At work, we have a limit to how many people can be at the pool. We have two sessions throughout the day so that in between each session we would clean and disinfect everything,” he said.

These precautions increased the normal responsibilities of a lifeguard by making them responsible for not only the people at the YMCA, but also the sanitization of the pool. 

Although given more responsibility than most jobs, Rubino said that he enjoyed his job and felt safe while working. 

While some jobs have changed, new jobs have been created because of the pandemic. Senior Cris Toribio works as a runner for a veterinary office. 

“My job wouldn’t actually exist if it wasn’t for coronavirus. Normally the office is open and the patients just come to the front desk, but because of [the pandemic] the patients stay in the car, and I go to them and check them in,” Toribio said,  

While there are many negative impacts because of the pandemic, it has allowed Toribio to get a job that not only helps animals but helps keep customers safe from the virus. 

Social distancing has heavily impacted how students work by increasing employee responsibilities, and even creating new jobs. These standards lower the risk of infection and ease the tension in a stressful work environment. Overall, the safety measures put in place by local employers made every student feel more comfortable doing their jobs and still allowed them to enjoy their work environment.