Essential Employers: Student Workers at Philz Coffee and Sweetheart Cafe

Kayla & coffee: Changes in work at Philz

“If anyone has a problem with their drink, we just have to have them toss it and then redo the entire thing because we can’t touch it again after they’ve touched it,” Palo Alto High School senior Kayla Stitt said. “That’s the protocol.”

Chinatown cafe: Life in a family of essential workers

Pulling out of her driveway at 10 a.m., Palo Alto High School junior Ilene Trach gets comfortable, preparing herself for the hourlong commute to work and the day ahead of her. Once she steps foot into the store, business begins as usual. She starts making boba and smoothies, the sound of blenders filling her ears until the late hours of the night.

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