Houstonians file for unemployment after getting laid off amid coronavirus pandemic

HOUSTON, Texas -- Two Houstonians, who were recently laid off from their job, are part of a much larger group of Houstonians looking for new jobs.

Raquel Olaya and Irving Perez were laid off when restaurants they worked at were forced to close due to growing concerns of coronavirus.

SEE RELATED LINK: Texas declares health disaster, leaving take-out only restaurants open

"I'm a hard worker, you know, I'm all about my work and time," said Olaya.

Olaya is filing for unemployment and she's not alone.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, nearly 20,000 unemployment insurance claims were filed last week.

"Everybody's trying to stay healthy, stay safe but then at the same time bills and stuff don't stop so we're just still trying to see what we can do to keep our lives on track," said Olaya.

Meanwhile, some employers are trying to fill jobs as fast as they can.

"Everything that has to do with sanitation, keeping our stores clean, anything related to customer service, sacking groceries," said Joe Kelley, the Houston division president of Kroger.

SEE RELATED LINK: Kroger hiring 10,000 extra workers and offering PTO for current workers with COVID-19

The grocery chain is speeding up the hiring process to fill 10,000 positions nationwide whether it's temporary or long-term.

"Think it's about being responsive to the communities that we're in. If we're going to be doing business in the community, we should all so help support these communities," said Kelley.

Texas Workforce Solutions said there's also a major need to fill private security and delivery jobs.

Perez said he hopes his new job comes soon.

"Financially, it's just been a struggle." said Perez. "Hoping that it's over soon and we can get back with our lives."

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