Food service workers and people 55 years and older will be able to roll up their sleeves and start getting the coronavirus vaccine on March 22. The Alabama Department of Public Health moved into Phase 1C of its vaccine distribution plan.
People working in restaurants could be exposed to the coronavirus every time they clock in and start working. The general manager of Below the Radar, Chance Brown, said once his employees get the vaccine, they won't have to worry every time a customer sneezes or sniffles.
“If somebody starts coughing, you have to wonder if it’s a cold, the flu or COVID," he said. "So, this is just going to help alleviate some of those fears.”
Brown said a lot of his staff have kids at home. There's always a fear they may get exposed to the virus at work and bring it home to their families.
Like the employees at Below the Radar, a partner of Phat Sammy's in Huntsville, Jeremy Esterly, said his employees get nervous about potentially being exposed every day.
“We’re exposed to a lot of people daily, maybe not sick people obviously, but we’re exposed to a lot of traffic from different people. Staff has been kind of worried," said Esterly.
Some of those fears will be lifted once March 22 rolls around and they can start getting the vaccine.
“I think it will make it easier for people to feel comfortable dining in the restaurant, being in closer proximity to one another and having someone take care of them who they don’t know. They don’t know who they’re around," said Brown.
"I think knowing that a lot of people are getting the vaccine, it feels like the world is a little bit happier now than it was a few months ago," said Esterly. "So, really that’s all it is, over and over: peace of mind, peace of mind, peace of mind."
Esterly said he's very glad people in the food service industry will be eligible to get the vaccine before the mask mandate is lifted.