What to do if you’re laid off work due to COVID-19

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The push for social distancing is pushing some people out of a job. 

However, one job expert says there are other options. 

Joy Stewart is without a job after she says her former employer, Interim Bar and Restaurant, laid her off Tuesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am a little concerned at the possibility that I may not be making enough money in the very near future," she said.

Stewart says she was caught off guard when she got the word via group message, but she wasn't completely surprised.

“It doesn't really surprise any of us, I suppose, because there have been a lot of restaurant closures in the midst of all of this," she said.

Interim’s owners said they've experienced an 80% decrease in sales since last week.

“You're only getting two tables a night,” Stewart said. “You can't really afford to stay open, let alone pay the employees."

The restaurant owners said they laid off around 30 people as a last resort due to the loss of business and lack of direction in terms of when the pandemic will pass. 

Interim isn't the only restaurant faced with this difficult task. 

Rob Richey with Pro Resume Services says there are other options — you just have to be proactive.

“There are plenty of jobs that need to be filled now. It just may not be in the exact same industry that they were in before,” Richey said.

While restaurants and the hospitality industry are suffering, industries like retail and warehousing are flourishing due to the high demand for supplies, Richey said.

If you are laid off or without a job, Richey said you need to look at your transferable skills. 

“A school teacher is a manager. She manages her classroom and the curriculum that's taught in the classroom, the compliance issues she deals with. A lot of people really overlook their skills."

Richey said the pandemic is not only getting rid of jobs but could possibly create room for new jobs. 

Filing for unemployment is another option. Click here for a link to file for unemployment related to COVID-19.

As for Stewart, she sais she has another part-time job but is still wary of the uncertain future.

"I just hope that everybody in light of all this realizes the severity that this disease is affecting everybody,” she said.

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