Labor Day celebrated differently in Omaha amid pandemic

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 2:39 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Labor Day celebrations in Omaha were hijacked this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many events were canceled in order to prevent large crowds, and with thousands of Nebraskans still out of work, Labor Day 2020 has left many people with little to celebrate.

For many people this year Labor Day means much more than cookouts and a day off.

Every year Omaha salutes its labor force with a celebration including a big parade, but this year the COIVD-19 pandemic, put a stop to the SeptemberFest celebration.

The virus also forced some businesses to close, sending their employees in search of unemployment benefits.

Josh Mahoney is busy working this Labor Day. Josh is not concerned about not having a day off he’s happy that he’s working, even on a holiday.

“Very thankful I know some people who had lost their jobs due to that which is unfortunate but yeah I guess I’m pretty thankful for still having a steady job,” said Mahoney.

Valerie Couch is also working on Labor Day. Valerie doesn’t have any appointments for the day but after COVID closed her doors for more than a month, she’s still trying to make up for what she lost.

“Any chance I can get to get some new clients that maybe live in the neighborhood and you know see that I’m open will give it a shot,” said Couch.

Valerie was one of thousands who had to apply for unemployment when COVID shut down business across the state. It’s something she never had to do before, and she wondered what the shutdown would do to her business.

“How long will this last, will we be able to reopen if goes too long, you know is it even worth reopening what do you got left,” said Couch.

So even if there is no official Labor Day celebration in Omaha this year. Josh is celebrating by working and Valerie is celebrating just by letting people know she’s open for business.

According to the Nebraska Department of Labor, the state has paid unemployment benefits to more than 130,000 individuals throughout the pandemic.

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