UW Oshkosh food service workers adapt to new precautions

Andrew Hansen, News Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on UW Oshkosh food services workers still adjusting to the new regulations.

“There’s a lot more rules with masks, glove-changing and cleaning,” Blackhawk Xpress employee David Zeh said. “We’ve always done a decent bit of cleaning as a part of the job, but it’s a lot more intense than it has been in previous years.”

The cafeteria workers have to ensure that everyone who enters the building is properly wearing their masks. Zeh said that he has not had any backlash yet from students for enforcing the rule.

In addition to this, the cafeteria staff have been holding an increased number of meetings related to health and safety to ensure proper practices are maintained.

From left, Lorie Winkler and Lynn Bender say that the toughest part of the stricter COVID guidelines is the loss of connection to students.

“It’s about making sure you’re changing your gloves constantly and not touching your mask and staying as far away from the students as possible,” said Lorie Winkler, who works at the Sub Stand in Reeve Memorial Union.

Winkler says that she and her co-worker Lynn Bender still have not fully adapted to the more stringent precautions. They said that the toughest part of the stricter guidelines is the loss of connection to students.

“We’re used to giving the kids hugs when they’re having a bad day, but we can’t do that anymore,” Winkler said.

“I’m still getting used to smiling with my eyes, which is weird,” Bender said.

Given the circumstances, the two are still doing what they can to brighten students’ days.

“We’ve been writing nice little messages on the GrubHub bags, just something to make their days,” Bender said. “We’ve got a lot of compliments so far.”

The pair said they are doing their best to ensure student safety.

“You never know who may have an underlying condition,” Winkler said. “So everybody’s just gotta be careful.”