Middle Georgia residents worry over possible layoffs amid pandemic
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– Many Georgians are facing unemployment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Streets that are usually bustling with life are now empty, and businesses around Middle Georgia are seeing the effects of this pandemic firsthand.
On March 18, President Donald Trump signed the Family First Coronavirus Response Act.
The bill provides paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing. It also expands food assistance and unemployment benefits and requires employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.
The Georgia Department of Labor Division Director Denise Beckwith says thousands of Georgians are filing for unemployment as a result of this virus.
Beckwith said, “Our call volume has increased tremendously by workers and employers contacting us and letting us know that they will be temporarily laying off their workers in the future or that they have already.”
Kiley Harden — a woman from Laurens County — said she recently lost her job, and she’s scared for her family. She worked at a local healthcare facility, and due to a lack of childcare during the pandemic, Harden was taking off work to stay with her children.
Harden said, “When I came in on Wednesday I was given the ultimatum, either come to work consistently or be let go. I worked in a doctor’s office on the front line, so I decided that my kids are more important. On Monday, they called to let me go.”
All local Career Center offices are staffed to answer questions but not open for the public. The Georgia Department of Labor is asking people to apply for unemployment online or over the phone.
Those who have been temporarily or indefinitely laid off, qualify for COVID-19 unemployment protections. People with compromised immune systems who have had to stop working also qualify for unemployment.
The Department of Labor has a full list of frequently asked questions on its website.
If you require unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, visit the Department of Labor website. Click “Apply for Unemployment Benefits” under the Online Services tab. This will take you to an online application.
Those without the internet are encouraged to call their local career centers.