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Healthcare workers pressed in efforts to get essential supplies

A Batesville woman who works in the healthcare profession is frustrated with the system of customer rotation that grocery stores have adopted as their part of complying with city and state regulations in the effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Tonisha Tucker, who lives on Bethlehem Road, said she and others who spend long hours in hospitals, clinics, and other facilities are often the last ones shop for groceries because of extra work demands during the pandemic.

Tucker has worked at Senatobia Healthcare and Rehab for 16 years, and said she enjoys her career and helping with patients. Her few off hours, she said, are not the times that are best for grocery shopping during the crisis when store managers and employees are struggling with daily demands and sometimes can’t keep stock on shelves.

“When my co-workers and I get off there are crowds at the stores and when we get there it’s hardly anything left,” she said.

Tucker said she thinks store owners should allow healthcare workers to shop early in the mornings in the time period set aside for senior citizens. Before the pandemic, Tucker said, shopping late in the day was no problem, but she’s having a hard time finding some items because of evening shortages.

The stress of working a healthcare job during the coronavirus crisis is more than enough to keep her constantly worried without having food concerns as well.

“We are taking all the precautions we can,” she said. “I have to change clothes when I get to work and we have temperature checks. When I get home I strip down everything in the garage and put it in a garbage bag to wash and disinfect. I go straight to the bath and take all the precautions I can.”

Tucker said she doesn’t want to ask older relatives, or people in high-risk categories, to shop for her due their increased risk. Other family members also work in healthcare and have the same problem, she said.

She also worries about coming home each night to her family, including two young children.

“That’s what scares me the most,” she said. “I pray when I get to work and pray when I leave.”