Working at grocery stores during the pandemic

Jaden Davis works at Carlsbad's Ralphs. Photo courtesy of Jaden Davis.

Jaden Davis works at Carlsbad’s Ralphs. Photo courtesy of Jaden Davis.

Ava Astleford, Reporter

With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, grocery store workers are interacting with people each day who come in and out of their store and could potentially spread or receive the virus.

Senior Jaden Davis is a local employee at Carlsbad’s Ralphs. Davis has a first hand experience with exposure. She tested positive for COVID-19 on June 30 and her last day of quarantine was July 14. 

“Anyone who was in contact with me when I was in my contagious state took the two weeks off as well and they got paid for it,” Davis said. “I think I scared the store a little bit and taught them to be a little more strict about the rules and really realize it’s serious.”

Because of her case impacting the store, Davis showed the risks that employees are taking. With rules becoming more strict in the workplace, many new mandates were issued and created a completely new expectation.

“We’ve always cleaned and been very good at sanitizing, but it was brought to a whole new level,” Davis said. “There are people who, for their entire shift, they just come and clean the entire store. We have to sanitize the carts for you guys when we bring them in.”

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Along with the risks of COVID-19, store workers have to tackle all of these new priorities. Even after adapting to all of the changes, workers also saw their system of pay shift throughout the whole COVID-19 journey.

“We were getting for a while hero pay, which was an added bonus of like two dollars an hour extra, so instead of $13 it would be $15 and that was for a long period of time,” Davis said. “Then because we hired so many people, because the store was jam packed with people they had to cut our hero pay.”

Although grocery store workers at Carlsbad’s Ralphs have indeed received some different methods of pay, the store did make up for that with bonuses for their employees. Even with these gestures, the employees still had to work through difficult and changing times. Throughout all of the hard work and time that these employees put in, workers feel they don’t get the appreciation they deserve.

“I think the biggest part was just the customers, they did not like us at that time period, which they still don’t like us, but it’s ok we’ve kind of gotten used to it,” Davis said.