Layoffs and meals traces: How the pandemic slams the poorest U.S. staff

Laredo, Texas (Reuters) – Alberto Mendoza figures he could make it a few weeks on unemployment advantages earlier than beginning to determine which payments received’t receives a commission. The 26-year-old father of three misplaced his job coaching cooks when all of the native eating places began closing their doorways and shedding employees.

Folks wait in line, following the social distance guidelines, to use for a reduction field through teleconference name on the South Texas Meals Financial institution in Laredo, Texas, U.S., March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Veronica G. Cardenas Meals Financial institution

“I’ve to pay lease, my truck payments; I’ve three youngsters to help,” he mentioned.

Mendoza is amongst hundreds right here in Laredo, Texas, alongside the southern U.S. border, who’re teetering on the sting of monetary smash because the coronavirus pandemic takes maintain – though Laredo has seen no deaths and confirmed simply 9 instances by Tuesday night. That’s a tiny determine in comparison with hundreds of different hard-hit communities.

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The plight of Laredo – a metropolis of 260,000 positioned in one in every of America’s poorest counties – illustrates the breadth and depth of the financial ache radiating internationally as governments scramble to close down commerce and situation stay-home directives to sluggish the pandemic. When metropolis officers restricted public gatherings – even funerals – to not more than 10 folks, the native economic system went off a cliff, regardless of the comparatively minor well being impacts thus far. The town’s speedy decline underscores the magnified fallout from the pandemic in economically fragile communities the place most households stay one or two missed paychecks away from desperation.

Poverty makes it a lot tougher for folks to isolate themselves to protect towards an infection or to hunt…

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