South Carolina servers struggling after coronavirus layoffs

South Carolina servers struggling after coronavirus layoffs

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Businesses around the midlands are taking extra precautions to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, and many of these precautions have led to job cuts.

With these coronavirus changes leading to those layoffs, many people are scrambling to pay their bills and feed their families.

Tonja Edwards has been working for as long as she can remember. Most recently she was a server at IHOP in Columbia.

However, because of changes due to the coronavirus, Tonja says IHOP went from being open 24 hours to reducing their hours, before finally becoming “managers only”, leaving her and all of the other servers without a job.

"I don't know what's gonna happen next, I don't know what to do, I don't know how long this is going to last," said Edwards.

It’s a situation that has become common during this pandemic.

In response to the growing amount of unemployment, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman discussed the possibility of having former restaurant workers, like Tonja, help out the school system. Filling in for cafeteria workers to continue to make meals that are still being provided for students while they learn from home.

"We will have a template up where volunteers, or folks maybe who have lost their jobs, particularly those in the restaurant industry, that might want to come in and work in one of our cafeterias," said Spearman. "We are working with the United Way of South Carolina so people can volunteer to come in and take those positions."

An idea Tonja believes could be worthwhile.

"Just the fact that you're doing something productive. That would help so many people. Mentally and finically that would help," added Edwards.

In the meantime, many families around the midlands like Tonja's are trying to figure out what's next and how they are going to pay their bills.

“You take it day by day, if I see things or people tell me about things, I seek it out, but at the same time you have to be cautious because I can’t keep driving here and there,” she said. “Cause what’s going to happen when I run out of gas and I get a job offer.”

Tonja says she has tried to file for unemployment but like many others has had some issues with the system.

Officials say if you are trying to file an unemployment claim, the best way to do so during this outbreak is online.

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