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COVID-19 leads to layoffs, lines at employment offices

 Hundreds of people in the service industry are looking for work or a way to put food on the table. (WOWT)
Hundreds of people in the service industry are looking for work or a way to put food on the table. (WOWT) (WOWT)
Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 5:16 PM CDT
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The threat of the coronavirus is leaving many people in our area without jobs.

Hundreds of people in the service industry are looking for work or a way to put food on the table.

Some of the people who lost their jobs are hoping to get unemployment benefits to get them through these tough times.

Nicole John was working at a local restaurant. She is one of the many who lost their job because of the coronavirus threat.

“And basically they told me I had to apply for unemployment. So I've been trying to do that for two days and it's been frustrating."

There are many employment casualties of the virus.

Many lining up at the Heartland Workforce Solutions office.

Erin Porterfield, executive director of Heartland Workforce Solutions said, "There are a lot of employers that are being impacted by the coronavirus. There are establishments that are closing for weeks at a time or for an undetermined amount of time. And we're receiving a lot of those workers who are being laid off."

There are challenges in the office -- dealing with so many people, maintaining the proper social distance and allowing only 10 people at a time in a room.

“So we have multiple rooms and laptops in different rooms so that we're spacing that out accommodating the customers. We're assisting on computers with a six-foot distance,” Porterfield said.

Nicole is hoping to find some help here. She may not be employed but she might be safer at home, closing the door on the virus that took her job.

“Right now I have kids at home, so I'm just going to stay at home with them,” she said.

Department of Labor officials say you don't have to go to the Heartland Workforce Solutions’ office.

You can file online and prevent contact with others during this crisis.

For unemployment insurance information and instructions visit dol.nebraska.gov/ or neworks.nebraska.gov.

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