By Chloe Freed
Cassidee Hrehorovich is used to working on days that most people have off. As a mail carrier in Bayville, NJ, she and her colleagues work during the holiday season, on Saturdays and even during a pandemic.
Hrehorovich is one of the millions of Americans who have been deemed as essential workers during the novel COVID-19 pandemic. While many stay home to stop the spread, grocery store clerks, nurses and postal workers like Hrehorovich continue to report to work.
“I always knew that my job was considered important because I’m considered a federal employee,” Hrehorovich said. “But when I break it down, sticking pieces of paper into boxes doesn’t seem like it should be all that important right now.”
Despite Gov. Phil Murphy’s advisory to stay home and self-isolate, Hrehorovich still delivers packages and letters to those who are quarantined in their homes, running the risk of being in contact with people who may be infected with the virus.
“The thing that worries me the most is not if I am personally going to have to go through having the virus,” she said. “But if I am going to unknowingly pass it on to someone else who might not survive it.”
To decrease the risk of contracting COVID-19, Hrehorovich now wears gloves when she is working and keeps a safe distance from her colleagues when everyone is in the post office in the morning. Maintenance workers at the post office have also begun sanitizing scanners and the inside of the mail trucks every day.
Despite the sanitation efforts, postal workers still work with customers every day, a part of the job that Hrehorovich’s post office has managed to alter.
“We are not required to go up to people’s doors anymore to get a signature as to limit exposure, we can just leave a notice for pick up,” Hrehorovich said.
Since the start of the pandemic, Hrehorovich has noticed mixed emotions from the people she delivers mail to.
“I have other customers coming right up to me to take the mail right out of my hands saying they don’t care and (that) this is all ridiculous,” Hrehorovich said. “I have some elderly customers that are scared but still friendly.”
As people continue to self-isolate in their homes, many have turned to online shopping. Even businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity by sending people more advertisements.
“The mail itself was getting a lot of new circulars as if businesses were thinking since everyone is home they will pay more attention to the mail,” Hrehorovich said. “What increased immediately was the package volume, specifically coming from Amazon.”
As an essential worker, Hrehorovich has taken all necessary measures to prevent the virus from spreading while she’s on the job.
“I’m doing everything that I know I can by being very cautious about not touching anything extra and wearing gloves constantly,” Hrehorovich said. “I just can’t wait for this to be over and for everything to go back to normal.”