Frontline workers should be valued more amid COVID-19

Grocery store clerk working amid the COVID-19 crisis. Photo courtesy: Fox News Network

If you are working during the coronavirus outbreak, you deserve appreciation, respect and a pay raise.

This global plague has shut down schools and stores everywhere, to reduce the spread of the virus. Frontline workers who are still going to their jobs every day and risking their chances of contracting the deadly virus should be especially valued these days.

In no way am I trying to make light of the unemployment of some workers, it is hazardous to work frontline amid this pandemic when they are required to interact with several people all day. These individuals should receive recompense for doing so.

One would suggest that if these workers are afraid to get sick their best solution is to stay home. Fortunately for some workers, they can stay home and receive paid leave. However, there’s only a small number of workers who are that lucky.

According to, 51% of U.S. civilian workers, waging $13.80 or less, have access to paid leave time. For those workers who do receive that paid leave, the number of days is fixed depending on their sick time per year. Others are granted a paid leave of two to three weeks.

What about those frontline workers who don’t have that option because their services are needed day to day? These are our pharmacists, nurses, grocery store clerks, and food service providers. These heroes who are providing food and medicine to their customers deserve sufficient compensation. Sadly, some have yet to see this.

Kady, a medical assistant, said her employers have yet to offer her hazard pay.

“I understand that people need healthcare workers, but I do wish we’d get a little bit more [pay] because it’s a lot of stress with the long hours,” she said. “We’re still taking in patients and having them come in is nerve-racking.”

Ar’Monie Mack, a certified nursing assistant at Brookdale Assisted Living Facility, was not expecting these drastic changes from the COVID-19 epidemic. She said she has not gotten any time off and she does not feel safe.

“It’s kind of a scary thing because you can’t block out the whole world from assisted living. There’s people coming in and out constantly to take the patients to the doctor or draw blood,” she said. “You can be as safe as you want to be but if the virus were to spread it wouldn’t really shock me.”

Mack said she wished her job would provide even more precautions to ensure her safety.

Grocery store clerks and food service providers are risking their lives as well, yet they receive little to no praise nor payment for their service.

Savannah, a Publix associate, wishes her job offered fair compensation as well as more preventative measures to ensure security. She fears possibly passing on COVID-19 pathogens to her children.

“I would ask for a more sufficient compensation than just fifty dollars considering the fact that I’m coming to work every day putting myself and my family at risk,” she said.

According to FOX 5 Atlanta, Publix announced one of their associates at their Cruse Marketplace store tested positive for the coronavirus. In their statement, they said that the health and well-being of their associates and customers remain their top priority. The store completed a disinfection-level deep cleaning and will continue operating normal business hours.

Grocery stores and several medical facilities are remaining open due to their essential role in providing consumers with food and medicine. These workers should not be overlooked during this worldwide epidemic.

Ar’Monie Mack, the CNA, lives at home and she hates that she is potentially jeopardizing the well-being of her family by going to work every day with at-risk patients.

“I feel like I’m exposing myself to it [COVID-19] on a daily,” she said. “I know that when I come in the house from work there’s no sitting down anywhere, I immediately have to take off my clothes and take a shower to protect my safe haven.”