‘Most exposed’: Spain’s cashiers on the frontline of virus battle

MADRID (HRNW) – “Keep a safe distance!” barks a cashier in a Madrid supermarket, where working the till means braving the frontline in virus-ravaged Spain.

Since a state of alert was declared on Saturday, most establishments have been closed save for those deemed essentials — supermarkets, food shops, chemists, tobacconists and petrol stations.

The measures were put in place to try and halt the virus in hard-hit Spain, which has more than 9,100 confirmed cases and 309 deaths — the second worst-affected country in Europe.

On a smoking break during her shift, Blanca Perez takes off the basic face mask that was provided to staff on Sunday by the management at Carrefour, the French supermarket chain.

“Now it s us cashiers, who are on the frontline, we re the most exposed,” says the 31-year-old, gazing down a deserted street in the centre of the Spanish capital.

But she herself appears calm.

“A lot of people are dying,” she says matter-of-factly, while admitting she has “certainly not” visited her parents or grandparents to avoid any risk of infection.

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