Thursday, August 13, 2020

Staying safe as stores reopen

 APHA intern Sakshi Handa is a student of public health, and like many people in the U.S., she also works a retail job. After closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the store where she works reopened recently. Sakshi shared the experience of heading back to work here.

As stores start to open and we start to adjust to our new normal, I want to share my new before and after work routine. As a public health college intern and retail employee I know how important it is to keep me my family, my coworkers and customers safe during these unprecedented times. Here are the things I am doing before, during and after work to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Before work:

1. Every day before going to work, the first thing I do is take CDC’s self-health assessment for COVID-19. I check to see if I have any symptoms such as a fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. If I answer yes to any of those symptoms or have had recent contact with a COVID-19 positive person I know to call out of work. If I am feeling healthy, can answer no to all of the items on the CDC checklist and have had no contact with a COVID-positive person then I know I am good to go into work. 

2. I drive to work. As soon as I get there, I put my mask on according to CDC guidelines

During work:

1. Prior to starting my shift, the manager on duty completes the same CDC health assessment for every single employee. If anyone is experiencing any symptoms or has had contact with a positive COVID-19 patient they are asked to go home.

2. Throughout my shift, I am required to wear gloves and keep my mask on at all times.

3. I sanitize my gloves with alcohol-based sanitizer before helping each new next customer. 

4. I change my gloves to a new pair every few hours and always wash my hands before I put on a new pair.  

5. Throughout my entire shift at the register I am required to give the counter space and the card machines a full wipe down every hour using EPA-approved cleaning supplies

6. When I am done working, I remove my gloves and wash my hands with soap and water. I count to 20 seconds silently while I do.

After work:

1. As soon as I leave work, the first thing I do is remove my mask making sure to handle only the ear loops or ties  and use hand sanitizer that I keep in my car.

2. When I get home, I wash my hands

3. Before spending time with anyone in my family I put my work clothes in the laundry and take a shower. 

4. After I shower and change into clean clothes, I wipe down my phone with disinfectant wipes. 

When I first got called back to work I was a little scared, but the store, my managers and all my coworkers are following every CDC guideline to keep the store clean and only letting in a few customers at a time. It also made me feel safe that all customers are also wearing masks and some of them even have gloves on too. Everyone is doing their part to keep themselves and those around them safe and stop the spread of the coronavirus! 

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