As American restaurants struggle with the financial fallout of the Wuhan coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — some anonymous customers in Houston tipped a restaurant almost $10,000 in order to help the owners pay their staff.
According to a story at KTRK-TV on Tuesday, the hefty $9,400 gratuity was left Monday just hours after local officials ordered restaurants to stop serving dine-in customers.
"We were amazed by their generosity. We didn't expect it. They went above and beyond what was necessary," restaurant owner Louis Galvan told the Houston Chronicle of the payout. The newspaper adds that the tip came from a couple who eat at the restaurant regularly and was split between cash and a credit card.
Galvan says that the wait and kitchen staff will split the amount evenly, getting around $300 per person.
According to the new restrictions on Houston-area establishments, which went into effect Tuesday morning, bars and nightclubs have to temporarily shut down while restaurants are permitted to offer only pickup, drive-through, or delivery options.
"I know this is very difficult. It's a difficult time, and that's why we're taking extraordinary measures," Harris County Judge Lina Hildago said of the measures, according to KHOU-TV. "History will say that we prioritized human life. History will say that we erred on the side of action. This doesn't work unless we all buy in."
"What we are attempting to do is slow down the progression and not burden our healthcare system," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted of the order on Monday. "Every time we take a step, it does affect people's lives. Galvan says that, right now, he's just trying to keep things afloat while paying his employees."
Meanwhile, government officials around the country have put in place similar restrictions on dining in at restaurants in efforts to slow the spread of the virus, while other businesses have voluntarily opted to close their own dining areas. In guidance issued on Monday, the White House recommended that people avoid eating and drinking at restaurants, food courts, and bars for 15 days as a precautionary measure.
In response to his current circumstances, Galvan said he's just trying to keep the business afloat while still paying his employees.
"We're just trying to make it to that window where everyone has a consistent paycheck," Galvan told CNN. "We're not even worried about profitability at this point. We're in survival mode."
KTRK has more on the story here:
Irma's Southwest gets $9,400 tip to help wait staff www.youtube.com