My day job is working for a beverage distributor. According to the Department of Homeland Security and the governor of my state, I am essential. My employer takes this seriously. Not because they can make money, but because we are a business-to-business industry; we help other business stay in business. (My internal editor is cringing at all the “businesses” in this paragraph!) My company has donated to a bartender relief fund. When ventilators were donated to my state from another, Jet Blue provided air transportation and my employer donated the ground transportation.
My employer takes the safety of its employees seriously. We have been given masks. Hand sanitizer–we’ve even made our own. Our temperatures are taken every morning before we enter the building. Social distancing is strictly enforced. People have been hired to do nothing but walk through the office and wipe down the surfaces with sanitizer several times a day.
My particular team has the option of working from home. Several of my co-workers have taken advantage of this. I have not. Other than my hours being changed, my routine hasn’t been drastically altered. And yeah, I like getting out at 4:30 instead of 5:30. If and when I have to start working from home, I’m afraid I will never want to leave my house again. It’s the downfall of being an introvert.
I order in food when I can, and am as generous as I can be when tipping delivery people. I want my favorite restaurants to stay in business.
The toughest part of being essential has been talking to restaurant and bar owners who have been forced to “pause”. Some of them will be okay. Others are scared they will lose everything. Some cry. Others curse. All I can do is listen and assure them I will work with them once the state is off pause. We want them to stay in business.
I’m not a health care professional or a first responder. I don’t work directly with the public. But I’m proud of what I do to keep the economy going.