As the Coronavirus continues to spread into what some researchers would call the “peak week” before the plateau, and eventually the drop off of the curve of cases, unemployment has reached an all time high in the country. The rate of unemployment is far higher than previously expected, topping 10 million just this week. With millions of retail, production, and countless other employees out of work, one question rings through. How much longer will layoffs last?
On Thursday, Volkswagen announced that layoffs previously expected to only last 2 weeks are now turning into furloughs for over 2,500 Chattanooga employees.
Connie Campbell, a single mother, has worked in production at Volkswagen since their move to the scenic city and is now facing unemployment for the first time in her adult life.
“This whole situation(coronavirus) has shown me just how fragile everything in my life is,” Campbell said. “I’m thankful for unemployment benefits and benefits through work still being available but I’m ready to go back to work.”
Volkswagen issued a news statement today to ease the minds of their employees:
“Our primary objective is to protect the financial health of Volkswagen for the benefit of our team as we address the emerging and ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on our industry,” said Tom du Plessis, president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “Right now we have limited visibility on when we will be able to resume production, but we are committed to doing everything we can to preserve jobs. During this time we will be intensely focused on preparing to reopen in a responsible way, ensuring our team has the opportunity to return to work safely and as quickly as practicable.”
Volkswagen claims that they hope to reopen fully within 4 weeks from April 11th, and most everyone in the country hopes that this will be possible for all businesses.
Spenser Duncan, owner of the Mountain Goat Market, a restaurant, has converted her bustling business to a curbside exclusive location.
“With all of this uncertainty, it would be nice to have an idea of when everything will be normal again,” Duncan said. “I hope it’s sooner rather than later.”
Treasurer Secretary Mnuchin announced today that the country could be open for business as early as May, but being open for business will not immediately fix what will inevitably become a depression in the country.
This pandemic in today’s environment is uncharted waters. There is no definite answer to when this will be over. It is important to remain complacent to CDC guidelines throughout this time to stop the spread of the virus in an effort things to being returning to normal.