After working through logistical issues, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) reported that the numbers of unemployment claims from around the state has grown rapidly due to various shut downs and reduced hours, caused by the novel coronavirus.
A 60% increase since Monday night's announcement that 71,000 residents had applied for unemployment benefits - a revenue figure capped at $247 per week.
As of Thursday, reports that unemployment claims statewide have risen to 119,000. 3,066 of those cases come from Livingston Parish residents. Applications filed does not mean that benefits have been conveyed, simply that residents have used the portal to apply.
A normal week's case load, state wide, was 1,500 - 2,000, LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie said at the healthcare town hall Monday night.
To apply, Dejoie said that she recommends people call during off hours, as the LWC has expanded hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to take calls. She said the best place to apply for benefits was http://www.laworks.net/
The LWC asked the News to deliver the following message -
For an individual to receive their weekly unemployment benefits, they MUST file their Weekly Certification before Sunday (Deadline: Saturday at 11:59) of each week they are unemployed.
Filing your Weekly Certification can be compared to filling out a weekly timesheet.
Although LWC is waiving the job search requirement, individual must still let the Louisiana Workforce Commission know, weekly, that he or she is still unemployed and that their situation has not changed. An individual will not receive benefits if their weekly certification is not filed.
Weekly Certifications can be filed at www.louisianaworks.net or by calling 1-866-783-5567
The shut down of many service industry and entertainment based venues due to the novel coronavirus has caused a major economic strain on Louisiana already.
The governor said Louisiana is competing for second in the nation for corona virus cases, per capita. The state is in the Top 10 for the nation, as well, for raw cases - with New Orleans being in the Top 10 for individual cities.
Governor Edwards continues to emphasize social distancing and mitigation efforts, even putting a 'stay at home' order into effect to try and express the potential issues that could be caused by this virus.
The stay at home order still allows residents to:
- Go to grocery or warehouse stores
- Pickup food from restaurants
- Go to pharmacies
- Go to the doctor's office, should the doctor allow it
You can also:
- Care for or support a friend or family member
- Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise - just keep at least six feet between you and others
- Walk your pets and take them to veterinarian if necessary
- Help someone to get necessary supplies
- Receive deliveries from any business which delivers
The governor's office says you should not:
- Go to work unless you are providing essential services defined by this order
- Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
- Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
- Visited loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility
The difference between "stay at home" and "social distancing" is that stay at home is a more strict version. It means:
- Stay at home is a stricter form of social distancing
- Only go out for essential services
- Stay six feet away or more from others
- Don't gather in groups of 10 or more
The governor wanted to emphasize that these measures weren't 'quarantine' - residents could still utilize essential services and would not be restricted to home at all times.
Good practices for social distancing and hygiene include:
- No gatherings of 10 or more
- Wash hands for 20 seconds or more
- Sneeze and cough into a tissue or elbow
- Disinfect common surfaces
The Governor updated his public health emergency proclamation to include the following:
- Gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people.
- Casinos and bars will be closed.
- Restaurants will be closed to patrons eating on site. Take-out, drive-through and delivery orders are allowed.
- Movie theaters will be closed.