Becoming Unemployed In Just Hours

Mar 20, 2020

Many Nevadans working in the service industry, who have the opportunity to file for unemployment, are currently in the process of doing so after the mandated statewide closure of all non-essential businesses for 30 days. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano spoke to two Reno locals who have been impacted.

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve made an announcement Monday, issuing the closure of all non-essential businesses, that left some owners confused and pushed others to close. A day after the mayor's decision, Governor Steve Sisolak mandated the closure statewide, impacting bars, casinos and restaurants.

“I've never had to apply for unemployment. I honestly didn't even know how. I texted my mom and I was like, ‘where do I even go,’ ” said Marissa Depaoli, who was working as a server at Chili’s Bar & Grill just a week ago.

Depaoli said she and her colleagues were shocked, nervous and scared.

“I have coworkers that that's their only income and they have kids,” Marissa Depaoli said. “Two of my coworkers are married and have four kids. They're probably worse than me because they're providing for a family.”

The closure didn’t just impact the food and entertainment industry. It also includes beauty shops, gyms and Reno’s Black Hole Body Piercing.

“They're not feeling great. I worry about all of them because everyone who works there is very family orientated. It's their whole income and it just closed in a matter of hours,” said Stevie Tavener, an employee of Black Hole Body Piercing.

Tavener said leadership at Black Hole Body Piercing had advised the team to start filing for unemployment to try and get ahead of anticipated delays. She was taken back by the length; she thought it may be two weeks max.

For Tavener, it was important for her to acknowledge her friends who are currently living paycheck to paycheck and working in the service industry, but to keep peace of mind, she reminds herself that they are all in this together.

“Finding different breathing patterns or different things we can do to stay present in the moment. Things are changing hourly, so we kind of just have to stay as present as possible and that's what I'm focusing on most,” Tavener explained.

This week, Governor Sisolak instructed the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation to waive its work search requirement and the seven-day wait period for approved unemployment insurance benefits.