By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Governor Gavin Newsom announced a huge spike in claims filed with California Employment Development Department this week.

Eighty-thousand claims were filed on Tuesday alone. Newsom said that’s compared to an average day when 2,000 claims are filed across California.

One of the hardest-hit job sectors during the COVID-19 crisis is the hospitality industry.

Sacramento server Lisa Cavanaugh just had her work hours cut in half, and she feels lucky to still have a job.

“It’s devastating,” Cavanaugh said. “35 hours a week, to 18.”

READ: Education During Coronavirus Outbreak: Gov. Newsom Suspends Standardized Tests For Students

The single mother has been a server at Sacramento International Airport for three decades.

The coronavirus impact on her bottom line came fast when Governor Newsom announced emergency measures to slow the outbreak’s spread over the weekend.

“We were still making money last week,” Cavanaugh said. “The bottom dropped out on Monday, completely.”

Unite Here, Local 49 represents restaurant and hotel workers in the Sacramento region.

“The Covid 19 crisis has hit our members really hard,” Unite Here spokesperson Aamir Dean said. “So our hotels are generally at about 85% occupancy at this time. They’re down at 25-30% occupancy.”

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Newsom reports claims into the state’s Employment Development Department jumped from 2,000 a day on average — to 40,000, 70,000 then 80,000 in the past three days.

“We’re trying to to do everything we can to process those claims as fast as we can,” EDD spokesperson Loree Levy said.

The EDD has resorted to calling back retired workers and adding state employees from other departments to handle the sudden spike in claims.

A one week waiting period to file claims is now waived.

“There’s all kinds of concerns,” Cavanaugh said.

This global health crisis, putting lives in jeopardy, and also putting many out of their jobs.

“How long is it going to go on,” Cavanaugh said. “You know?”


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