COVID-19 affects students’ jobs

As social distancing measures were being put in place, students' jobs were forced to adjust to the changes

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Photo courtesy of Spencer Rodecap

As business slows, an empty shop at Dobbs becomes a more frequent sight.

As social distancing measures were put in place, and recommendations to avoid contact were being implemented, suddenly, students’ jobs were put at risk. One such student, junior Spencer Rodecap, works at Dobbs. As the pandemic became increasingly serious, business suddenly slowed.

“When everything happened with the stay at home order, business suddenly dropped off. We went from seeing maybe 30 cars a day in February to seeing 10-15, and it’s getting even slower,” Rodecap said.

Business slowed, in fact, to the point where all part-time employees, Rodecap included, were laid off. Fortunately, however, he was hired back as a full-time employee.

“I got laid off that day, but the next day I was called back because one of our full-time employees was deployed by the National Guard and my manager re-hired me as a full-time employee,” Rodecap said.

Although he was relieved to have been re-hired, he remained a bit unsure about his job security once he returned, given the situation. Business remains slow for many businesses, as most people opt to stay home unless necessary in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

“I was still a little worried that I could lose my job again so I was hesitant to bring my toolbox and everything back. I only brought the few tools I needed normally and worked off of that until I was sure I’d be staying,” Rodecap said.

Sophomore Allie Seevers wasn’t laid off, but instead quit her job. She worked at Chick-Fil-A, and left her job to slow the coronavirus’s spread.

“I quit for my health and to protect others around me,” Seevers said.

The pandemic hasn’t just affected employment itself, though. It’s also affected how many businesses operate.

“As far as the store side of our shop, there are taped lines to keep people separated and plenty of hand sanitizer around. Our store supplies all of the employees’ gloves for when we are in and out of customer cars, and we are required to wipe down every part of the car we touch with sanitizing wipes,” Rodecap said.

The drop in business brought about by the pandemic does have another effect on employees: added stress.

“I could see my managers and coworkers becoming stressed because of hour cuts, safety procedures, and our sales going down,” Seevers said.

Though students’ jobs are changing how they operate to remain safe during the pandemic, the biggest change in how businesses operate is still the amount of business they get. A plunge in business forces employers to cut costs, and workers are laid off, or given less hours.

“The changes have truly stressed me out,” Seevers said.