Unemployment surges on Long Island during pandemic

With all nonessential stores closed for business, thousands of Long Islanders are trying to get by without a paycheck, some dipping into their savings while others are banking on the government for assistance. We asked people to share their stories and the responses poured in.

For Jenny Levitt who is a permanent substitute teacher, no school means no pay.

“I feel bad for small businesses, people out of work, I feel bad for everybody,” she said. ”You just live your life day to day but now that this is happening you see the pictures of Manhattan, it's real.”

And the reality is setting in for Stacey Wohl. The single mom has two children with autism. She also owns Because Lifestyle Boutique but doesn't think she qualifies for unemployment because she's self-employed. Even though she has rent to pay and mouths to feed - still she's trying to find the silver lining.

“If I dwell on the negative I won't get up,” Wohl said. “We're all in this together, we're all family now, I think we need to step up and help each other out.”

Wohl says help out especially those on the front lines. The government has been trying to assist local hospitals and first responders by sending protective gear like masks and gloves however Nassau and Suffolk County officials are asking residents to do their part by donating any of these items they may have at home.

Another industry suffering - real estate - licensed broker Michelle Doss says it's  pretty much at a standstill. She along with many others want to know how people who rely solely on commission receive compensation.

“We can't show properties, meet clients, anything,” Doss said.

Families across Long Island have been putting rainbows in their window - to send a message of hope for brighter days ahead.


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