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Single mom turns to food stamps as DEO unemployment benefits stall

Hotel restaurant supervisor used vacation pay to cover bills

Melissa Carr is a single mom with three kids, bills and an unemployment application that has been pending for eight weeks and counting.

“I’m used to going to work every day," she told News 6 Thursday. “The money has run out now and the unemployment (check) isn’t here.”

Carr worked as a restaurant supervisor at Spinner, a St. Petersburg Beach favorite located on the top of the Grand Plaza Hotel.

In late March she was furloughed along with the rest of the 33-member staff as the COVID-19 pandemic forced closings across the country.

Like many Florida locations, the restaurant is preparing for a soft opening Friday but she still has not received a call to return to work.

“Not even half the servers have been called back to wait tables,” she said. “I think it will be slow at first.”

The latest unemployment figures for the week ending May 16 saw another 2.4 million new jobless claims, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

“Each of these claimants has their own unique story," Bankrate.com financial analyst Mark Hamrick said Thursday.

Hamrick said the steady decline of the unemployment claims, while not at the peak reported eight weeks ago, still offers concern to the jobs landscape.

“The reality is that with more than 2 million claims, we’re talking about the equivalent of a city the size of Houston, Texas,” he said.

Carr has been assured her application should be cleared by next week.

If you would like to help Carr and her family or you have an unemployment story to share, send an email to Mike Holfeld- mholfeld@wkmg.com.


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