Colorado unemployment claims skyrocket as thousands lose their jobs
On Sunday, John Cumalat told his seven employees at Cannon Mine Coffee that they were out of a job.
But he didn’t close the Lafayette shop as the new coronavirus spread across Colorado. He just wanted to make sure his staff would be able to collect some sort of payment by filing for unemployment if COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, continues to wreak havoc for months ahead.
“I told people, ‘Look, I think there’s gonna be a whole lot of unemployed people, so I’m going to let everyone go with the assumption that if things return to some level of normalcy, you’ll be rehired. So keep your keys and try to get toward the front of the line for unemployment,’” said Cumalat, who thought he had given his crew a week’s lead before the spread of the virus put other restaurant and coffee shop workers out of a job. “It accelerated faster than I thought.”
Cannon Mine Coffee cut back its hours and was open for to-go lattes on Tuesday, a day after Gov. Jared Polis ordered the closure of restaurants and bars, except for take out or delivery, as well as movie theaters, casinos, gyms and other gathering places.
And coffee shop employees were probably among the thousands who tried to file claims in the past two days — 6,800 on Tuesday morning, as of 10 a.m., up from 3,900 on Monday and from 400 the Monday before, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
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