While some people can work from home under the statewide shelter-in-place order, others are classified as essential workers and report to work in person — leaving some students to set aside their fear of infection to do their job. 

Graphic communication senior Ella Philips currently works at Woodstock’s Pizza, a local pizza restaurant. 

“It is pretty daunting, delivering during COVID-19, but people in San Luis Obispo seem to be really thankful to everyone who is driving or delivering for them at this time,” Philips said. “It’s a little bit scary, but with the right protective precautions, I feel safe.”  

Woodstock’s drivers wear gloves and masks and maintain social distancing when dropping off pizzas.

“There are mostly drivers working right now and our cook seals all the [pizza] boxes before we leave to make sure they are safe,” Philips said. 

Philips added that it is stressful being a full-time college student while being an essential worker. 

“I’m thankful I don’t have to work too many hours, but it’s hard to keep up with everything,” Philips said. “My roommate noticed that it’s really difficult to do group work, because she’s working and everyone else is available 24/7 for the most part.”

Biological sciences senior Bryn Power started working for Instacart about three weeks ago after losing her position at the on-campus Disability Resource Center (DRC) due to regulations surrounding COVID-19.

Instacart is a grocery delivery system that allows users to load items from their preferred grocery store onto a mobile app. Then drivers pick up the items and drop them off at the user’s house.

Power said she is not nervous about delivering food to people’s houses, but she said she takes personal precautions when at the grocery store.

“I’m definitely aware that I’m being exposed more to COVID, being that I am grocery shopping and I’m near more people,” Power said.

Instacart does not have specific guidelines for COVID-19, but she wears gloves and a mask and wipes down the carts before each use for her safety and that of the customer, Power said.

“The good thing about Instacart is hours are flexible and I can work as much or as little as I want and any time I want,” Power said.

Power works less hours for Instacart than her previous job, but she also makes more money per hour, Power said.

Plant science sophomore Walter Lafky recently launched  AgriConnect, an online platform intended to connect individuals with local farms and fresh produce.

“Right now we just want to basically help the local farms as much as possible and then give the general populace better access to really good produce,” Lafky said.

The app and website were “ready to roll” at the start of April 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Lafky said their expectations have been “blown out of the water.”

Lafky does all the delivery himself as of now and takes safety precautions by wearing gloves, a mask, doing drop-off delivery and telling customers to wait an hour before picking up products from their doorstep.

“I’m trying to increase the access to really good local, fresh food,” Lafky said.

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