Viral Job Loss: How People Pull Through

By Karla Gomez

Over 170,000 people have applied for unemployment in North Carolina by the end of the week of March 28 according to the U.S. Department of Labor and the number continues to increase everyday. As North Carolinians are bracing their work situation, young adults have lost work, which has impacted them personally.

“I’m a sales associate at a popular clothing store. So of course we would have to assist customers up close,” said Carla Rivas. “We were told to wash our hands and use hand sanitizer constantly. At first they reduced the hours, which was still difficult because I didn’t have a lot, and it got to the point where they closed the store. So, according to the company I’m on furlough and I have no idea when I can go back to work.”

Rivas also explained that the virus has turned her personal and professional projects to a pause and wonders about how the virus will affect these projects in the long run. She’s also concerned about her elder family members that need additional help through the pandemic.

Many people, like Rivas, have to help their elder family members a lot more through this pandemic, and getting sick isn’t an option due to very little or nonexistent income.

“My message is despite how difficult things are now, don’t let the fear and panic get to you cause I think that type of stress will hurt you instead of the virus. All we can do is wait,” said Rivas.

Many jobs like Rivas’ have placed their workers in “furlough” meaning that they’d be able to come back to work after their workplaces reopen once the situation gets better. Unfortunately, with the high uncertainty that many have, people don’t know when they’ll be able to return back to work and  many have applied for unemployment since they’re not receiving income.

“I worked as a front of house worker at a food place. Basically making salads, checking people out, and cleaning the dining room was my job,” said Nicole Neal. “I really liked working there because of the customers and how I got to connect with them on a daily basis.”

Neal says that she was being laid off from the job and that the restaurant’s managers will be staying behind, as well as a small number of workers that will work the restaurant’s online orders only.

“They reassured us that once the Coronavirus situation ends, we would all be able to go back to work. In the meantime, I had to file for unemployment and depend on the money that I’ve saved up for to get the things that I need,” said Neal.

As the uncertainty grows for many who aren’t just out of work but for everyone in the country, people remain hopeful.

“This is something that’s affecting us globally and I hope this can teach humanity about how to treat each other in the future.  You don’t know who can give you help if you don’t show kindness,” said Rivas.

If you or someone you know is without a job because of COVID-19 and your place of residence is in the state of North Carolina, the state encourages people to apply for unemployment through their website at and then select “coronavirus” as the reason.

Image from istockphoto

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