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Virginia Career Works sees drastic increase in unemployment due to coronavirus

(WDBJ)
Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 5:11 PM EDT
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On any given day, Virginia Career Works says around 200 Virginians file for unemployment.

But thanks to the

, that number approached 2,000 Tuesday and 4,000 Wednesday, according to Morgan Romeo, the Blue Ridge region's Executive Director.

"Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we saw a significant increase in the number of folks that were coming to our center, 95 percent of them being to file for unemployment."

As Governor Ralph Northam requires shops and restaurants to limit the number of people inside to 10 or fewer, many of those places are limiting their operations or closing up shop completely.

"A lot of them have been in the service industry: restaurants, retail, things like that," said Romeo.

To help those people, Northam has waived the waiting period for workers to be able to apply for unemployment benefits.

"For individuals that are just literally unable to work because their businesses don't allow that anymore or have closed temporarily, I would encourage them to talk to our employment commission and make arrangements for unemployment," said Northam.

While Virginia Career Works offices are shut down because of the coronavirus, employees are still hard at work remotely.

You can access helpful information on their website, and even chat with someone online.

Romeo says she expects unemployment numbers to get worse before they get better, but she does think many of the businesses impacted will rebound.

"I think our local economy is resilient and I think we'll bounce back pretty quickly once this is done."

Romeo recommends people currently out of a job look for temporary positions with grocery stores, which are so busy they are struggling to keep food stocked on the shelves.

To file for unemployment, click

, or to check out the resources provided by Virginia Career Works, click

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