Unemployed, anxious about uncertain future, await stimulus package

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- These are anxious times for the hundreds of thousands of people now unemployed due to the coronavirus. For them, a stimulus package can't come soon enough.

Sylvia Carrillo disinfects her kitchen counter. Out of work right now, the Los Gatos woman says she can't afford to get sick too.

"On March 13 I was told not to report to work for two weeks and then I saw a memo later in the week, it was up to April 8," Carrillo says.

Janice Lewis rents a stall at a salon where she styles hair. She operates her business on thin margins and says the stay at home order has devastated her.

"Nobody's paying our medical benefits. We have literally zero income at this point," Lewis says.

Lewis is an independent contractor and doesn't qualify for unemployment benefits.

"I'm having to call my mortgage company and have my mortgage deferred. Hopefully my credit cards might work with me," says Lewis.

Carrillo has also contacted her mortgage company and is awaiting an answer.

Today Governor Newsom announced that four banks had agreed to suspend mortgage payments for 90 days.

Carrillo's frustrated that other companies continue to pay their out of work employee's, but not hers. "They're looking at a ten or 12 week shutdown. It's like oh, my God. There's no way. I'm not going to make it," she says.

Of course, no one really knows how long this shutdown will last.

President Trump thinks it will be until Easter. Members of his own coronavirus task force are less optimistic.

Sonia Bishop is a professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley.

"We really are worse when you don't know exactly what's coming, which is really this situation," she says. "I think if you could tell people exactly this probability and exactly this time, and this is exactly what you need to do, people would feel really much more prepared."

Bishop urges people to ease their anxieties by focusing on coming up with a plan and staying close to others.

"It can be virtually. It doesn't need to be physically with them," Bishop advises.

Both Carrillo and Lewis are looking to the government for answers, but Lewis is especially concerned independent contractors will be left out of any government assistance.



Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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