Essential Filipino grocery workers say they’re happy to be of service amid pandemic

Amid lockdown orders across the country, grocery stores have stayed open, with workers continuing to stock shelves and check out customers — despite concerns that each commute and customer interaction could put them at risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Thousands of grocery workers have gotten sick from coronavirus. Some have died.

But these Filipino workers of Island Pacific continue to be essential workers.

“People are panicking; buying rice, buying canned goods. The happy thing on that first day that happened was we served them all the best that we can,” says Alma Doshier.

In the weeks since the shelter-in-place order, stores have added more safety measures to protect not just the customers, but the essential workers as well.

Some have added sanitation wipes for carts, required all shoppers to wear masks while inside the store, and imposed six feet separation markers at check-out lines.

Some workers even created their own personal protective equipment such as these face shields.

“One face shield costs less than $5 and it’s easy to make. It will take only 5 minutes to do it. So we made a video for that one so that other stores can do it. That’s an extra layer for them also so they cannot touch any of the droplets or saliva coming from the customers.”

To further help customers, especially the elderly — Island Pacific provides pick up option or home delivery.

“I feel so happy even just yesterday I delivered twice for a family who are so afraid to go out from their house. That’s why I told them, just give us a call. I’m going to deliver it to you, no problem. And even they are giving tips to us. No, that’s our job,” said Arnel Macaspac. “Actually don’t give anything we’re so happy that we help you too. That’s why in return they’re so grateful for us.”

As California remains in lockdown — these Filipino grocery workers said they remain optimistic and ready to provide excellent customer service.

“This kind of crisis, it makes us strong. Stay safe,” said Ricky Palad.

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