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Winnacunnet students deal with layoffs due to COVID-19

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

The Washington Post stated over 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 23, the state of N.H. had its first COVID-19 death. Every day brings this disease closer to home and the Winnacunnet student body has not been spared.

The layoffs and reduced hours have indiscriminately affected Winnacunnet. Senior Anne Carrigg received a full layoff from Airfield Cafe in North Hampton

I am a waitress, so my restaurant is closed down until further notice due to the governor's orders,” Carrigg said.

Carrigg’s situation is not unique. According to Vox, food service workers all over the country have been laid off from their jobs or told that they cannot accept tips.

NELP (National Employment Law Project)’s website said, “Waiters earn more in tips than they do from what employers pay them as an hourly base wage. The median share of hourly earnings that come from tips account for 58.5 percent of wait staff’s earnings.”

Senior Faith Carrigg said she will have to file for unemployment until the outbreak is over. This means two people in her household have been affected by the layoffs, which is unfortunately common during this time.

Junior Erin Dowd worked as a Zone Leader at Panera Bread in Seabrook before being laid off.

“Newburyport and Portsmouth Panera’s are still open for to-go orders, but [they] are only being run by managers.” Dowd said.

Junior Dasha Piotrowski was put on paid leave from Lane Memorial Library and had her parents call into Market Basket in Stratham.

Sophomore Hannah Allen said the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in her mother, brother and herself not being able to attend their jobs at the Seabrook Recreation Department.

“My dad is a cop and he has to work 24 hour shifts every day because my mom, my brother, and I don’t have a job anymore due to the coronavirus,” Allen said. “My dad has been working very hard to get the money we need to support us in every way possible.”

On the other hand, senior Matthias King said he is working more than ever. King is a Utilities Associate at Cornerstone at Hampton, Assisted Living and Compass Memory Support.

“Rather than losing my job, me and all my family members are essential workers,” King said. “We have been working more than ever. In fact, I’m on overtime. I have worked five doubles in the past week.”

King said his workplace has dynamic policies every day to help flatten the spread of COVID-19. In terms of the residents, they must stay in their rooms at all times unless they specifically call the front desk to take a walk or go outside.

“For the workers (nurses, management, dining, housekeeping, etc. ) we have our own safety protocols,” King said. “We all must enter only through the main entrance. There we get our temperature taken and go through a checklist of questions about how we are feeling, who we’ve been around, and if we or someone we know has traveled or been in contact with someone with COVID-19.”

King said if an employee is deemed healthy, they are free to enter the building under the condition that they are in uniform, wearing a mask, and have recently washed their hands or are wearing gloves.

Cornerstone’s website states all of their policies and King said it is updated daily as the situation changes. Cornerstone also offered the option for all employees to get tested for COVID-19 at RiverWoods in Exeter.

Several areas in the facility have been deep cleaned, including the dining room and areas of the memory care section.

The drastic measures Cornerstone has taken have been seen from countless other businesses all over the country in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These changes are all in the name of keeping people safe.

“Our biggest fear is that a worker may bring in the virus and if it were to happen we are trying to keep it from spreading, “ King said.

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