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As Texas Reopens, Furloughed Workers Hope To Rejoin Workforce

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A stay-at-home order in Texas expires this week, allowing movie theaters, malls and restaurants to open their doors again on Friday. Joe's Crab Shack in San Antonio is planning to welcome customers, which means a new phase in the life of shift leader Davin Hohertz (ph).

DAVIN HOHERTZ: I'm basically a glorified server, but there is a lot of more responsibility. I make all the desserts for the week, you know, and make sure that they're first in, first out - that kind of thing.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For seven weeks now, Hohertz has been furloughed and doing anything to pay the bills.

HOHERTZ: So I've been donating plasma, which is about $315 to $400 a month. I have a roommate that has a lawn business so I've been helping him. I filed for unemployment. After taxes and child support, the first two times I got $170 a week.

MARTIN: Because of the stimulus, he got an extra $600 with his unemployment.

INSKEEP: But now he's getting ready to head back to work. For safety, Joe's Crab Shack will open at only 25% capacity. Hohertz does not expect to be called in at first and is concerned about what happens when he does go back to work.

HOHERTZ: My main fear is there's been a very, very, very, very limited amount of testing down here in Texas. And personally, I think, in the hospitality industry, being your handling people's drinking glasses and plates, the employees are to be put on a strict guideline as far as what they do outside of work and tested before they come back to work.

INSKEEP: He says that's not happening, and he's worried about passing the virus between work and the group home that he helps to run for people recovering from addiction.

HOHERTZ: I'm in a sober house with 12 other gentlemen. We come and go as we please. We had a little scare here where one of our roommates got sick. So we went on lockdown.

MARTIN: But Hohertz has to make a living and says he's ready to work when called.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEWARE OF SAFETY'S "DOGS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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