COVID-19

Facing another month of costs in the coronavirus economy

Andie Corban Jun 2, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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Another month, another monthly credit card bill. Damien Meyer/Getty Images
COVID-19

Facing another month of costs in the coronavirus economy

Andie Corban Jun 2, 2020
Another month, another monthly credit card bill. Damien Meyer/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The start of June marks a new round of mandatory payments for things like rent, credit card bills and car loans. We checked in with two people who we spoke to at the start of April and May about how their economic lives have changed in the past month.

April Oliver

Oliver was set to start a job at an environmental consulting firm in Boseman, Montana, when the crisis hit. Her offer was delayed because of the coronavirus, but she started working in May and is now moving to full-time.

“It’s definitely been a roller coaster,” Oliver said. “Even two months ago, I felt so despondent and hopeless. I thought that surely I’d stay unemployed for the rest of the year.”

Even with her new employment situation, Oliver is still being cautious with her spending.

Maria Barillas

Barillas, a waitress and barista in Brooklyn, New York, has been out of work since mid-March, when her restaurant closed. It has since reopened for takeout, but she hasn’t been called back in to work.

“I feel like at the beginning of the pandemic, I thought for certain that we’d be back to work by mid-May, early June,” Barillas said. “Now it feels less certain that jobs are gonna be there waiting for us.”

Barillas has been looking for other jobs but hasn’t found many places hiring. She said her unemployment insurance is helping her feel stable right now.

“The extra $600 [per week] that the government has allotted to people who have lost their jobs to coronavirus is very helpful,” she said. “But I think as June turns into July, that’ll be when I start feeling a little more anxious, when that emergency fund runs out.”

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

It’s still the question on everyone’s minds: What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The $600-a-week payments have ended, officially, as of July 31. For now, there is no additional federal pandemic unemployment assistance. House Democrats want to renew the $600 payments. Senate Republicans have proposed giving the unemployed 70% of their most recent salary by this October, when state unemployment offices have had time to reconfigure their computer systems to do those calculations. Until then, jobless workers would just get another $200. But, nothing has been signed into law yet.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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