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Little Matt’s prepares for takeout orders.
After attending online school in the morning, junior Johnny Garibay puts on his mask and pulls on a pair of latex gloves for his afternoon shift at West U restaurant Little Matt’s.
Before the pandemic, he served food to tables. Now, he brings to-go boxes wrapped in plastic bags to customers’ cars and makes sure the restaurant is clean.
“The first precaution we took was making sure everyone [staff members] didn’t have the symptoms,” Garibay said. “The next precaution we took was making sure the doors were always open and bathrooms were cleaned after a person was using it. We had hand sanitizers available in the front of the counter.”
On March 25, a county-wide stay-at-home order shut down all non-essential businesses. Little Matt's offered carryout service and Garibay continued to work.
“We are now wearing masks and gloves to handle food,” Garibay said. “We wipe the iPad we use to handle transactions every time a customer signs. We have been doing such a great job handling the situation that the city of Houston wrote a letter saying thank you for operating safely.”
Garibay takes on shifts after school on Tuesdays and Fridays and all day on weekends. He relies on communication with his manager and teachers to maintain his busy schedule.
Johnny Garibay, pictured at work before the pandemic hit.
“So far, my balance of school and work hasn’t been that bad,” Garibay said. “But sometimes I do forget that I have an assignment due but my teachers and I have been communicating very closely to understand the situation.”
Like all those working during this quarantine, Garibay faces risks while serving customers [Little Matt's is now serving customers at 25 percent capacity].
“My mom was a bit concerned about me working during this but she trusts that I am very responsible and that I take precautions to stay safe and clean,” Garibay said. “My family only consists of me and my mom, and we have been praying for this to get better.”