by Charlie Pentland
Graphic by Zeyada Negasi
Almost six weeks into others’ quarantine, essential workers are still laboring. Starbucks baristas still make drinks and Amazon employees still deliver packages. Some people are asking why one would still go outside and work during the pandemic. Companies have begun offering more money for employers to continue their work. Anywhere from health benefits to additional hourly pay, each company has come up with incentives to make sure they still can make money.
Walnut Creek has a total of 14,000 people employed in its city according to DataUSA. 2000 of them work jobs in sales and food preparation or serving. With the mandatory lockdown many of these people not working in essential business are left without an income. As a solution, Starbucks have offered their employees “catastrophe pay”. Starbucks employee will receive full pay regardless if they choose to work or not until
May 3. This comes on top of Starbucks also offering to pay for any mental health and child care bills and full pay for any employees who contract the virus.
Major companies such as Costco, Walmart, Target, and Starbucks all offer anywhere from $2-3 more per hour for working during the pandemic.
One Las Lomas freshman, Allison Pal, offered her opinion as to this situation: “I think as long as the workers are safe then it’s right for companies to offer them more money. I know if I was working I would obviously want some more money.”
Khalil Grant is also a Freshman at Las Lomas. When asked if he would work during a pandemic he responded, “No, I don’t think I would. I just don’t think it’s super safe to. Maybe if there was like more information about the virus I would.”
Khalil’s opinion is not an unpopular one. For example, a Buffalo, New York news station reported that they received dozens of emails about people’s employers forcing them to come to work even though they may have had anxiety about the virus. How many people are caught in business that are deemed essential, but in reality, society could function without them “If it’s not really an essential business than one hundreded percent I wouldn’t work.” said Khalil.
Whether one wants to work or not, they still need to make money, and large businesses have offered additional compensation to work.