Students with jobs balance school, work and safety

Shifting to takeout, doing more cleaning are common tasks


Ellie Moores

Senior Avery Rowe is a part-time employee at Puccini’s. Rowe noted the changes that restaurant workers have made to ensure a safe experience for their customers.

Ellie Moores, Reporter

Many people can say they had a job in high school, but few can say they had one during the middle of a global pandemic. 

However, as Covid-19 continues to affect people worldwide, this is the reality for many students who continue to work throughout the pandemic. 

For two seniors, not only were they holding a job in the midst of a worldwide health crisis, but they worked at restaurants where there is a high risk of employee and customer infection if the proper precautions aren’t taken.

One senior, Avery Rowe, has been employed at Puccini’s Pizza and Pasta at the Geist Marina since May, 2019 as a host and busser. Since the virus reached the United States, Rowe said going to work has looked very different. When the lockdown was put into effect in March, she explained that she stopped working completely, even though Puccini’s did not close. 

It was not until the beginning of June that Rowe resumed her duties. Upon her return to work, much had changed. “Everyone has to wear gloves serving food and everyone has to wear a mask,” Rowe said. In addition to this, servers deliver food to tables on a tray rather than by hand to limit employee contact with the food. 

“We are still not at full capacity. There are pizza boxes marking off every other booth,” Rowe added. 

Since the restaurant is not able to seat as many customers in the dining room, the amount of takeout orders has increased dramatically. Before reopening their dining room, Rowe sometimes made as much as $60 a night in tips from just the takeout orders. So while many businesses were struggling to stay afloat due being closed, Puccini’s was able to maintain a steady flow of customers. 

Senior Lauren Frank had a similar experience working at Flamme Burger in Keystone, where she has been an employee since October, 2018. Flamme Burger is owned by a former Cathedral family, the Najams. Frank was friends with Gabi Najam ‘20 and was able to secure a position as a host at the restaurant. 

Like Rowe, Frank explained that Flamme Burger has undergone many changes in order to ensure the safety of both their employees and customers in the wake of Covid-19. 

Employees are required to wear masks at all times while at work and customers are seated away from each other. Currently, Flamme Burger is still not at full capacity, as is the case with many other restaurants.

Besides these precautions, Frank explained that a special cleaning spray is used to disinfect surfaces frequently. Frank also said she has been applying a lot more hand sanitizer. Anytime she is handling silverware or food, she sanitizes her hands to avoid spreading germs.

It’s safe to say that the food industry has had to adjust to this new, pandemic-stricken world. Restaurants have become somewhat of a health hazard, but employees like Rowe and Frank help make the dining experience a safe one.