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Preschool teacher Lainy Morse has been out of work for more than two months. But the Portland, Ore., child care center where she worked is considering a reopening. Morse is dreading the idea, as much as she loves the infants and toddlers she cared for.
“They always have snotty faces. It’s just one cold after another,” she says. “It feels just like an epicenter for spreading disease. And it feels really scary to go back to that.”
In addition to risking infection with COVID-19, going back to work would also mean a cut in pay for Morse. Thanks to the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits the federal government’s been offering during the pandemic, Morse and her fellow teachers are actually making more now than they did on the job.
“It’s terrible to say, but we’re all doing better now,” she says. “It’s hard to think about going back to work in this pandemic and getting paid less than we are right now when we’re safe and at home in quarantine.”
It’s a dilemma that millions of unemployed Americans may face as businesses around the country start to reopen. And it’s a question lawmakers will be wrestling with, as they debate whether to extend the supplemental unemployment benefits past July.
The Cracker Barrel restaurant where Avery Adams worked has just resumed limited indoor dining again, after weeks of takeout-only service. But the Gravel Switch, Ky., resident is in no hurry to go back.
“I don’t feel like it’s over yet,” Adams says, pointing to a jump in coronavirus deaths in Kentucky at the beginning of last week. “I would wait to see, as things reopen, if the caseload increases again.”
The restaurant has been patient about recalling workers, and Adams has decided to stay home for now. Mostly he’s concerned for the safety of the four elderly relatives he lives with. But the extra $600 he’s…
Go to the news source: For Many, $600 Jobless Benefit Makes It Hard To Return To Work : NPR