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COVID-19 shutdowns causing anxiety among those out of work and business owners alike

People are concerned about how long it will last
us unemployment
Posted at 11:16 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 10:08:15-04

DENVER -- For those already teetering on the edge, dwindling savings and an unstable job market are causing real fear.

"This virus - it's like - it's taking over everything,” said Cassandra Kaptain. “You don't know what you're going to do. I’m trying to get a job at Target."

Lorrie Green was about to start a new job in oil and gas, but the job is on hold as the COVID-19 outbreak has hit the industry hard. Green is temporarily living in a Motel 6.

"I'm looking at a month before I have to figure out a way of having some sort of income," Green said.

For business owners forced to shut down, the stakes are just as high.

"It’s empty. It’s abysmal,” said Leila Gari, owner of the Denver Cat Company on Tennyson Street. “We see between 100-150 people a day during weekends."

Gari’s cat adoption café has gone dark and silent. And with every passing hour, anxiety builds.

"Coming here just reminds me that there's a possibility we might never come back," Gari said. "I've gone through every kind of emotion."

At the moment, the prevailing emotion is frustration with Denver's new "stay at home" order.

"This should have happened a week ago. We are a week too late. We are probably more than that, we are two weeks too late," Gari said. “We have to do it right if we're going to do it at all. Small businesses shut down last week. We've been sacrificing for a week now. We are bleeding out. If we had issued the stay at home measure sooner, that would have helped everyone more. And our sacrifice would not have been, thus far, in vein. You have to have clarity around rules or they don't work. Otherwise, it's going to keep getting dragged out because the rate of infection is not going to truly go down."

As for those like Green, it’s all very unsettling.

“We have, at best, two days-worth of food that we can stock up on,” Green said. There are families here with serious needs. They’re the elderly. They're the disabled. They're families with babies, infants."