Too close for comfort: Essential workers remain on the frontlines

by Megan Schiffres

Food Lion stocker Rachel Minter packs curbside pickup bags for customers who want to avoid entering the supermarket.

KILMARNOCK—While the majority of Virginia’s workforce is now confined at home, safe and isolated from the dangers of contracting COVID-19 in a public space, a new appreciation has developed for members of the community who remain on the front lines, helping others to survive this virus.

Service workers such as grocery stockers and cashiers are still showing up to work, still interacting with dozens or hundreds of total strangers every day, and still only making an average of $10.59 an hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Instead of adhering to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommended social distancing practice of staying six feet away from others, cashiers are trapped operating their registers and have no choice but to spend their entire shift only two feet away from an endless line of customers panic-buying rolls of toilet paper by the dozen.

“Some of the girls up front have been wearing gloves, trying to wash down the registers a little bit more than usual and trying to keep their distance…[to=view-more]