Student perspectives on masks in drive-thrus

    With New Brunswick back in the yellow phase, New Brunswickers are no longer required to wear their masks in drive-thrus. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    When New Brunswick entered back into the yellow phase, New Brunswickers were no longer required to wear their masks in drive-thrus.

    Emily Beck, a first-year St. Thomas University student, has worked at Tim Hortons for nine months. She said they’ve had to take more precautions because of the ongoing pandemic. As the province moved through different phases, her workplace’s biosecurity measures for employees and customers changed.

    “When I started, we had to wear gloves for everything we touched and changed them every two minutes,” said Beck. “As we changed colours, it kind of changed as well.”

    Beck said it doesn’t really bother her when customers don’t wear masks, but she said it would be considerate if they did. 

    She said when she goes through drive-thrus, she still wears her mask even when she’s not in the driver’s seat.

    “[Customers] only wear it for 30 seconds and [the employees] are wearing it for seven hours a day,” she said.

    Beck doesn’t mind since she only sees people for 15 seconds until they’re gone, but she is still disheartened people wouldn’t wear a mask. She said when New Brunswick was in the orange and red phase, most people were pretty good at putting their mask on when she’d ask but there were still people who didn’t.

    “We are all going through it together so everyone kind of understands,” said Beck.

    Ady King, a second-year STU student, has worked at Dairy Queen for three years.

    King said it’s scary to be exposed to the public, but her work is only operating their drive-thru so it makes her feel better.

    She said her work has restrictions about masks that make her feel safe and comfortable.

    “It does kind of suck that with the return to the yellow phase that people aren’t required to wear masks in drive-thrus by law anymore,” she said.

    King said her workplace put up signs that encourage customers to wear masks, but the public isn’t obligated since it isn’t enforced by the law.

    She said most employees find it nerve-wracking to ask customers to wear their masks because they don’t want to upset them. But she finds it frustrating because there is nothing the employees can do if nobody will listen.

    King said for one person to put on their mask, it isn’t a big deal, but as an employee, she sees over a hundred people so it is a big deal.

    Masks can be inconvenient, she said, but it’s what keeps people safe.

    King said it’s not hard to find time in the three-minute waiting time in the drive-thru line up to put on a mask before getting to the window. 

    “I think that everyone wants everyone else to be safe,” said King. “But I do think in the action of not wearing a mask you are showing that you don’t care about the employees that are working in the public.”