It’s something Taylor Gonzalez does at the end of every shift at the pharmacy.
“I sanitize my work area. Then, I take my scrubs off before entering my car,” Gonzalez, an SJC Long Island student, told OnCampus. “I keep a disinfecting spray handy to disinfect — before I carry my germs into my car, and into the house. When I arrive at home, I leave my shoes outside to air out, and I immediately shower.”
The regimen is part of Gonzalez’s hyper-vigilant approach to life and work during the coronavirus pandemic. The senior child study major works four days a week in the pharmacy area of the Walgreens in East Patchogue, filling prescriptions — now busier than ever — being picked up by customers every 10 minutes.
“It is my job to make people feel better and my first priority is helping customers feel comfortable during this time,” said Gonzalez of East Patchogue. “I try to make my customers feel at ease the best way possible. Many people are nervous about the cleanliness of the pharmacy, but we have new cleaning products, and we only allow up to 10 customers in at a time.”
Walgreens employs social distancing guidelines with markers on the floor to position and place where people stand in line.
“We also have plexiglass at the registers to limit the direct contact with customers,” Gonzalez said. “We are told to stay home if we are sick, and we feel very comfortable letting our managers know.”
Yet even with the extra precautions that the store is taking, being so close to the frontline of this pandemic takes its toll on Gonzalez.
“My pharmacy manager does a great job making us feel safe and important, but I worry about running out of protective equipment to protect ourselves and our customers,” she said. “I also worry about my brother who has asthma and my father who has an immune deficiency and kidney disease.”
Missing Her ‘Second Home’ at SJC
Gonzalez considers St. Joseph’s a second home and highly anticipates the day she can see her classmates and professors again. She hopes her fellow college students take the time to learn more about COVID-19 and pay attention to the daily press briefings for New York state.
“We need to be there for each other, our neighbors, our frontline workers and anyone else being affected during this pandemic,” Gonzalez said. “If you or someone you know is scared to get tested, do not wait.
“Wash your hands, wipe down any products that you are bringing into the house and have alcohol or Lysol handy to help sanitize,” Gonzalez continued. “If you are unable to get your hands on these products, try your best to promote cleanliness and practice good hygiene.”
This story is part of OnCampus’ “Answering the Call” series, focusing on St. Joseph’s College students and alumni working outside their homes in essential jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.