Due to restrictive measures, many were suddenly left without a source of income
Gerardo Espiel, 23, works full-time in a restaurant in the suburbs of Washington. Now the restaurant is closed, and the young man will have to move to his mother and sister, hoping that together they will be able to pay the mortgage.
“To be honest, this is all a bit weird,” he admits. – I am very calm about everything. I watch how the situation develops from day to day. I have accumulated several days of paid vacation, so for now I am taking advantage of it. “.
San Francisco resident Anita Reyes gave birth to her fourth child six months ago. She usually works as a waitress at the San Jalisco family restaurant, which is owned by her mother, Delores. Her husband also works there..
“It’s hard,” says the woman. – I thought that I could come and help her, because she cannot afford hired workers. Now we eat what is in the restaurant’s refrigerator. We are taking the food home “.
Percy Saloman is a driver in Virginia. There is still work, but you have to take more load for less money.
“Yes, I am worried because now my second shift is underway and I only made $ 70. And usually by the end of the day I get about 150, ”he says..
Millions of Americans are in the same position in the service industry, which has been hit hardest by the restrictions imposed by many states in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus..
Some states advise people not to leave their homes. All companies deemed optional are closed.
Ball State University estimates about 17 percent of working Americans will be affected by social distancing..
“Four and a half million people are in retail, 3.5 million in food service, about 3.5 million cashiers, 2.5 million waiters,” says economist Michael Hicks. “If you add up all these numbers, you get 28 million workers in the United States who are directly affected by social distancing measures taken at the federal, state and local levels. This is a very vulnerable segment of the workforce. These are mostly low-paid employees. They will face financial problems almost immediately. “.
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“I think it should be at least a short-term unconditional basic income where everyone is paid $ 1,000 a month for three, four, five or six months,” says Hicks. – We could compensate part of it through taxes for wealthier citizens, for those who were not affected. Such measures, in my opinion, are able to support residents in the conditions of this short-term limitation of contacts. “.
For some, this amount could be quite significant..
“It would really help a lot,” said Cindy Brooks, 29, a San Diego-based waitress. “With this money, I could hold out for several months.”.
Brooks’ husband works as a tattoo artist and is also going through hard times. Now she and her 7-year-old daughter live on their savings..
“I worry. I’m lucky to have some savings. Many of my acquaintances do not even have this, – says the woman. “This is not what we were going to spend our savings on. We wanted to save up for home “.
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In Espiel’s case, help from the federal government could really save the day, given the already difficult financial situation..
“This is not only my problem. In the service sector, everyone sometimes lives from paycheck to paycheck, especially considering that things did not go very well in winter, ” he notes. – Few people went to restaurants, so now everyone is trying to stretch the money earned in the winter, avoiding unnecessary spending. And some don’t eat at all. “.
Saloman intends to continue working as a driver. In addition, he has no plans to support himself and his family..
“So far, the only thing I can do day in and day out is just keep working harder to earn the same amount as before,” he says..
Reyes hopes her family will survive the crisis: “We stick together. So far, this is just a small timeout “.
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