Great Britain

Hundreds pack into Florida parking lot – and ignore coronavirus distancing – to file for unemployment as 10m lose jobs

HUNDREDS of people in Florida defied coronavirus social distancing rules today and packed into a parking lot to file for unemployment.

The crowd seemed to ignore safety guidelines as they lined up to get paper applications for benefits, according to WESH 2 News.

A whopping 10 million Americans filed for unemployment last month, with more than 500,000 Floridians filing since March 15, WESH reported.

Technical difficulties with the state unemployment website may have brought the people to the Hialeah location.

"I’ve been on the website all day and now I’m getting this message: 'Error: the system has experienced an unexpected technical error,'" one person told WESH.

Some people who were in line had their face covered, but others did not, and many people were standing in close proximity to others.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that the embattled unemployment system should be able to handle the rush of applicants.

"It is better but still needs a lot more work," another person told WESH.

"I was able to get in about an hour ago and start claiming my additional weeks but kept getting kicked off, right when I was at the end."

The governor said more servers were added to deal with the extra web traffic.

More than 13,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida, and at least 230 people in the state have died.

A record number of people around the country have lost their jobs and applied for benefits during this unprecedented crisis.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” labor economist Aaron Sojourner told The Washington Post.

“The scale of the job losses in the past two weeks is on par with what we saw in two years during the Great Recession.”

Economist Heidi Shierholz told the newspaper that 20 million Americans may be out of work by July.

“Don’t lay off your workers, furlough them,” Shierholz told the Washington Post.

“The worker will still get benefits. They don’t lose their job.

"And companies don’t lose their workers.”

Eric Rosengren, head of the Boston Federal Reserve, told the newspaper: “The public health aspects of this have not gone as well as they have in some other countries, so the infection rate and the mortality rate is likely to be relatively high in the United States.

"That also means the economic impact is likely to be more severe than in some other places."

The government has introduced measures to help people survive these difficult economic times.

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