Business & Economy

Ah, fall, the season of pumpkins, falling leaves and crisp, cool breezes. But it's those cold winds that have restaurant and bar owners worriedly eyeing their calendars and seating arrangements.

Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he is lifting all restrictions on businesses statewide that were imposed to control the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Most significantly, that means restaurants and bars in the state can now operate at full capacity.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Jesus Gonzalez was about a year into starting a Cuban food catering and "pop-up" business in Lexington, Ky. It's like "a food truck, but without a truck," he says.

His steadiest gig was setting up tables with a spread of Cuban food at local breweries so people could eat while quaffing pints. But then all that shut down. And he says things aren't back to normal enough yet for the breweries to bring him back.

Jean lost her job as a school bus driver in Chicago during the pandemic. She was managing OK with unemployment money. But then, about two weeks ago, she got a desperate call from her adult son.

"His job had laid him off, and he wasn't able to pay rent," she says. There was an eviction moratorium in Chicago, but Jean says the landlord wanted her son out anyway.

She says the landlord got someone to threaten her son, and to shoot his dog — a German shepherd mix he'd had for years.

Parents and other caregivers of children who are learning at home while schools are closed – even for part of the week – can receive weekly cash benefits, regardless of whether they would normally qualify for unemployment.

That’s according to guidance released at the end of August from the U.S. Department of Labor about who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The program, part of the federal government’s COVID-19 relief plan, is aimed at those affected by the virus who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. 

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Columbus City Council has voted to create a new commission to investigate wage theft claims.

Marcie was at work at a Ford plant when she got a text warning her she might have been exposed to the coronavirus. It wasn't a sure thing — she was a few steps removed from the confirmed positive case. But it was worrying.

"So am I supposed to leave work? Technically I could be positive and not know it," said Marcie, who didn't want her last name used because she's worried about retribution for talking about the plant. "But, you know, a lot of people just can't do that. Can't just get up and go. We depend on the forty hours."

Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET

Kris Snyder didn't set out to be a professional musician. She began her working life as a corporate trainer for a big retail company. But after churning through seven managers in five years, she got fed up. She gave up a regular paycheck and corporate benefits and started looking for music gigs.

"Weddings, funerals, parties — that sort of thing," says Snyder, a fourth-generation harpist.

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