Too Young to Work During the Pandemic


Story by Bethany Porter

Alexis Dove found herself jobless when the store she had worked at for nearly two years told her she could not come back to work until she turned 18 years old.

Dove has worked as a sales associate at a local shoe store since November 2018.  The store had to shut down for nearly three weeks in April 2020 due to Covid-19, and she was told she was not allowed to work there again until she was 18.

The company changed their policy before Covid-19, only allowing people 18 and older to work there. Dove had already been there over a year when the rules changed, so she was allowed to remain as an employee until the pandemic changed everything. She had to wait until her birthday until she could work there again.  

Dove’s 18th birthday was in August, making her wait four months before she could come back to her job she has had since she was 16. While she was unable to work at the shoe store, she filed for unemployment like so many other people during the pandemic.

 “I was only supposed to be getting $98 off of unemployment, but because of the virus I was getting $500 every week. So that extra money was actually Coronavirus money,” said Dove.

She made nearly $10,000 in four months and says she still has it all in the bank. She was always planning to come back to work at the store saying, “you can’t live off unemployment forever.” Dove did not waste any time and came back to work the day after her 18th birthday.

On top of being told she could not work, her summer vacation to Alaska was cancelled due to the pandemic. “We had gotten our passports and everything already and were even looking at plane tickets and then the Coronavirus struck,” said Dove.

Her vacation was supposed to last the entire summer, and was planned nearly a year in advance. Dove was disappointed but said, “it worked out in the end because I got the whole summer off anyways.”

The pandemic also affected her senior year of high school. Her rugby season was cut short, and her classes went virtual. “They attempted to give us a graduation and a prom, but it wasn’t the same,” said Dove. Unlike the usual crowded prom, they had to stay six feet apart, wear masks, and pick certain time shifts to avoid a crowd. The amount of family members allowed at their graduation was also limited.

Dove’s first semester of college was also a little different than most people’s before the pandemic. She had a mixture of on-campus and virtual classes due to the virus. She was not too upset about how her first semester played out though. “I don’t know if being on campus is easier than online, so I don’t want to complain about not being on campus and then when we go back to campus complain about being online because it’s easier,” she said.

Dove has worked a full-time position since coming back after her 18th birthday. She recently tested positive for Covid-19 but has since recovered. She had to take two weeks off from work, but it did not hit her too hard. 

Dove said, “only the first two days were bad, and then it was just like a vacation.” The pandemic has crashed many of her plans, but she is adjusting to the new normal like everyone else around the world.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ashley Barrientos, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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