Many people will be out of work, pay during Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While many government employees throughout the state will still get paid during this pandemic, there are still many who will be out of work without pay. Those people are now struggling to pay the bills.

These people are the musicians, restaurant workers, events managers, caterers, who mainly rely on events to pay their bills. When a show or event is canceled, that means they don’t get a paycheck.

“When those performances are going to be rescheduled, who knows because none of us know right now,” says Tracey Whitney, a freelance singer and President of Local 618.

It’s not only the performers themselves who are feeling the struggle. Event venues are also feeling the pinch. University of New Mexico’s Popejoy Hall has canceled all events until April 30.

Over at Sister Bar in Downtown Albuquerque, the events manager says they have canceled about 11 shows going all the way through the beginning of April. Because of this, their business has also taken a big hit during this time.

“Thousands of dollars just kind of waiting in limbo potentially for several months,” says Tucket Yates, Sister Bar’s Events Manager.

During this time, the state has announced some changes to who qualifies for unemployment. Examples include restaurant workers laid off because business is suffering or employees at facilities that had to cancel their events.

“Waiving work search requirements for anyone affected by the COVID-19 situation. That can include people on medical quarantine or not, or include people that had their hours cut at Isotope Park, or they were working the United games, or the convention center,” says Bill McCamley with WorkForce Solutions.

Workforce Solutions say they are extending unemployment waivers for four weeks, starting on Monday.

Unlike other venues that have had to cancel their events, at least places like Sister Bar can stay open serving food and drinks.

School bus drivers and crossing guards will also be paid during the closure.

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