April 29, 2020 / VANESSA ROMO
There’s a call Laura Jean Truman is dreading, and she’s convinced it’s just a matter of time before it comes.
Truman, who’s a server at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta, says the source of her angst is the fear that sometime in the next few weeks her boss is going to call and say it’s time to go back to work, putting her in the position of having to make a choice between her safety and being able to pay the bills that continue to arrive despite the coronavirus.
“Right now, everyone who is not working at restaurants is able to be on unemployment,” she told NPR.
“But once restaurants decide to open, and if we decide that we don’t feel safe going back into those restaurants, we then are no longer eligible for unemployment because then we have a job opportunity that we’re turning down,” Truman explained.
“It’s a tremendously scary thing to have to think about,” she said.
The predicament is one in which millions of people receiving state unemployment benefits along with federal dollars from the CARES Act — in and outside of the restaurant industry — will soon find themselves, as more states follow Georgia’s lead in restarting some sectors of the economy.