Serena Marie was one of over three million Americans who filed for unemployment the week of March 15.
She was laid off from two jobs in the food and beverage industry in one day as part of closures mandated by the government in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Like many people who were laid off, her prospects for employment in the near future are slim, as businesses remain shuttered for an unspecified period of time.
Facing down potentially months of bills with no income, Marie turned to her landlord to see if she could negotiate rent.
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On March 15th, 2020, I lost both of my jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
I was a bartender and server at two different restaurants in New York City and live off of a tipped minimum wage. Like thousands of others in the service industry, my jobs were eliminated as the city began to shut down amid a surging public health crisis.
When I began to hear about the virus, how quickly it spread, and the level of panic it was causing, I knew that it was going to affect business. At the beginning of that week, the business closures in Brooklyn started as a trickle, but I knew, eventually, I would most likely become jobless as well. That’s when my stress started to skyrocket. Bills, rent, food, and other financial considerations were top of mind, living paycheck to paycheck, but of equal concern was my own health. I needed to keep working as long as possible if I was going to weather the financial storm that was coming, but I knew I was putting myself at risk for catching and spreading the virus every shift.
Reality hit me like a brick. I got laid off from both my jobs on the same day.
When I was laid off from my jobs, I had a mix of thoughts and emotions. On the one hand I was relieved — I was no longer presented with the Sophie’s Choice of choosing to work or choosing to protect my health. On the other hand, my income was completely gone. All table-service at restaurants in the city were shut down, spiking my current jobs and dashing any hope of finding another.
So I hunkered down and checked my finances, started applying for relief funds that were popping up and tried to file for unemployment. Paying rent was the biggest bill coming up and I was desperately trying to figure out how to pay it while making sure I had money for groceries and supplies needed for the upcoming months.
With all of my roommates laid off as well, we didn’t have many options.
With the city nearly entirely shut down, all of my roommates had lost their jobs. We all had enough money for one more months rent, but beyond that we didn’t know what to do.
One possibility was participating in what people are calling a rent strike. New York City’s workforce has been shocked by the pandemic, and thousands …read more
Source:: Business Insider