Newly unemployed, underemployed struggle making ends meet during coronavirus pandemic

Paying the rent and keeping food on the table is a big worry for an increasing number of people right now. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 3.3 million people filed for unemployment last week. That’s the highest it has been since the 1970s.

Jordan Wieneke, a former server at Frescos Southern Kitchen and Bar in Lakeland, can relate. 

“Hours cut, tips cut,” Wienke explained. “Some of my bills are not getting paid right now. I am stressed.”

Perhaps not as stressed as much as some of her former colleagues. Frescos had to whittle down its staff of 40 to just eight due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The survivors who were working full time, are now only working 15 hours a week. Instead of serving and getting hefty tips, they are home delivering meals and working take-out orders.

Wieneke, like many other people, is looking forward to getting a stimulus check from the federal government, and her tax return, to hold her over.

Ultimately, she hopes the business is up and running full force again within a month, but knows that there is no guarantee.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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