As states begin to lift stay-at-home orders, some of the first businesses to shut down in March to minimize the spread of coronavirus are now beginning to reopen their doors. Workers within the retail, restaurant, hospitality, service and meatpacking industries are getting calls from their employers that it’s time to get back to work.
But with coronavirus cases continuing to mount across the U.S., not everyone is ready to get back to life as normal. According to a survey from The Washington Post and the University of Maryland, 67% of Americans say they would be uncomfortable going into a store and 78% say they would be uncomfortable eating at a restaurant.
Further, more than 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March, including workers who were furloughed but remain employees with their company, and workers who had their hours cut and qualified for partial unemployment.
These workers are eligible to receive boosted unemployment benefits under the coronavirus stimulus bill, which provides an additional $600 weekly federal benefit until July 31 and state-administered aid for up to 39 weeks. The New York Times estimates workers in more than half of states will receive more in unemployment benefits than they did from their normal salaries.
Now that people are being told to return to work, do they have to go? And how does that decision impact their unemployment eligibility?