Kari in the City: an ‘essential worker’
By Kari Eastway
Many Americans are currently being told to stay home and stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also those who are considered to be “essential workers.” I am considered to be one of those workers.
No, I am not on the “front lines” of this fight, such as the countless hospital staff or first responders. Nor am I a truck driver delivering America’s necessities.
While those people have earned my utmost respect and, in my opinion, are the backbone of our country right now – I am in a different category of essential.
Alongside working at The Lookout, I also work at a restaurant that is maintaining business through carryout orders and delivery.
When restaurants first began to shut down, I inconveniently caught the 48-hour flu and was told I had to self-quarantine for 14 days to assure myself and others that I had not contracted the fast-spreading virus.
I loved spending my time at home and taking the much-needed break. Despite missing my friends, I was fine with social distancing.
I spent time reading, hiking new trails, playing with my two dogs and cooking my favorite dishes. I even had time for some spring cleaning. The point: I knew I was safe.
When my 14 days came to an end and I went back to work, I struggled to acclimate back to my busy life. Not to mention, I was no longer serving and doing a job I genuinely enjoy doing. I now help in the kitchen, and with carryout orders, frequently come into close contact with the general public.
Even now, I think, “Is this worth it?” while eagerly anticipating my next day off. To be considered an essential worker during this unsure time has often been stressful. I took a pay cut, put my health at risk, and work six days a week.
Again, I am not claiming to be the most essential worker. I am merely speaking on behalf of us who want to remind everyone who can to stay at home; don’t take it for granted. If you must go out, show compassion, be kind, and be safe.
I am sure many of us can relate to the fact that our worlds have been flipped upside down and we’re all learning how to adjust; so try to enjoy the break.