Student Shipt employees take time off for safety

Ashley Beronja

It is not every day we are expected to stay put in our homes in lockdown. The current norm across the United States and many other countries is to practice social distancing and to stay at home due to COVID-19.

Coronavirus is typically spread through close human-to-human contact and coming into contact with a surface an infected person has touched. 

Unfortunately, while many wish to be kept safe in their home away from people, others are not so lucky. Essential workers such as medical workers, fast food workers, grocery store clerks, etc., have to go to work every day and take the risk of being exposed to the virus.

Companies like Shipt, a grocery delivery service, are still employing workers during the pandemic. While employees are possibly being exposed to the virus, Shipt is taking extra precautions to make sure that the risk of being exposed is at a lower threat.

NMU students Kaitlyn Shepherd and Abby Aquilino work for Shipt and have decided to sit out during this time.

Shepherd, senior environmental studies and sustainability major, has decided to wait due to her own health concerns. Shepherd said it would be irresponsible if she were doing orders right now.

“I have severe asthma so this virus has definitely scared me quite a bit, so I’m taking it very seriously, but also not losing my brain over it either,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd is also a barista at 231 West Patisserie located on Washington Street in Marquette. The patisserie has chosen to close until further notice.

Many small businesses, such as 231 West, had to close their doors for the time being due to the non-essential business closure. This leaves employees without a job and without a way to provide for themselves and their families.

Aquilino, senior marketing major, has also decided to not work during this time.

While Aquilino is tempted to work due to the large orders, she would rather be safe and practice social distancing than risk catching the virus.

“I am sure there is lots of money to be made if you are a Shipt shopper willing to take a risk,” Aquilino said. 

Fortunately, companies like Shipt are still doing all they can to help their employers during this time. Whether that be with pay or simply taking extra steps to protect their workers, like a “Drop Off” feature that members can select when ordering groceries.

“This ensures that there is no person-to-person contact with groceries being dropped off on the doorstep,” Aquilino said. “Shipt also claims that they will provide financial support to any shoppers that get the virus and can’t work.”

Though Shipt has introduced the new “Drop Off” feature, there are still risks involved for Shipt shoppers who must go into the grocery stores to pick up the necessary items.

While the entire situation is scary for many, as most of us have not been through something like this, Shepherd reminds everyone that we are all in this together.

“If you are someone still working during these bizarre times…we see you, and are incredibly thankful for what you’re doing,” Shepherd said.