JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Employees at various Jacksonville fast-food restaurants were caught on camera, appearing to be handing money, credit cards and food in the drive-through window without gloves on or changing their gloves before the next customer drove up.
Some admitted they were not wearing gloves and not washing their hands in between transactions with customers despite the threat of COVID-19. How they’re doing their job is raising concerns, even though it’s legal.
I visited several fast-food restaurants, but we have chosen not to identify specific restaurants or employees because they were simply doing their jobs and they were not trying to purposely spread the coronavirus to customers.
At one restaurant, employees were wearing gloves at the drive-through and even designating one person to handle money transactions and another employee to handle food.
At another restaurant, I spoke with an employee who was not wearing gloves, yet she was handling money from customers in front of me and handing over food. I drove up and gave the employee my credit card and asked, “Is there a reason why you’re handling money and food with no gloves on?” She said she was given the choice of whether to wear gloves. Then I watched as she walked over to a sink and washed her hands, only after I said, "You don’t know where this card has been. I may have not washed my hands, but then you’re going to hand me food and someone else food.”
One of her coworkers who was wearing gloves and heard the conversation walked up to the window, handed me my food and confirmed that they were given a choice about wearing gloves. She also said it’s hard for window employees to wash their hands in between transactions with customers without slowing down the serving process at the drive-through.
Then I went to a different restaurant that had two windows, but only one was open for service. The employee working that window also didn’t have on gloves but appeared to be handling both money and food. While I was outside the place, I called to find out why only one window open, but the employee hung up the phone.
Though all of this can raise concerns, it’s perfectly legal, even during a pandemic. According to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, there is no mandate or anything on the books that says employees must wear gloves, change gloves or wash their hands between drive-through transactions with customers.
A department spokesperson who I spoke with said he doesn’t like the fact there’s no current mandate for this issue, but he just hopes people use common sense to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.