With the amount of people out of work, as well as all but the essential businesses closed due to COVID-19, the transportation industry has taken a hit.
Reno, NV – With the amount of people out of work, as well as all but the essential businesses closed due to COVID-19, the transportation industry has taken a hit. For Scott Pomer, who was a violinist with the Vancouver Symphony and is also a taxi driver, business has all but come to a halt.
“We are out there, and obviously because the businesses are closed, there’s not much to do for us, but because we feel the city needs us — we go to work despite the risks of contracting the pandemic,” said Pomer.
It got so bad that as of right now, Reno/Sparks Cab is the only company still open, as Whittlesea has closed down.
“When Whittlesea closed down, their drivers had nowhere to go, so we took them all in as well and gave them all free cars,” said Robin Street, Vice President of Reno/Sparks Cab Co. “We still have to be here when this is over with. If we shut down then nobody wins, you know? You have a few hundred people out of jobs.”
As independent contractors, cab drivers are unable to file for unemployment insurance, but that could change very soon. It’s called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and it’s a provision of the CARES Act that was passed through Congress.
“That provision, as you know, provides benefits for workers who do not usually qualify for state UI (Unemployment Insurance), because they have already used all their benefits or are otherwise ineligible for UI benefits,” said Rosa Mendez, Public Information Officer for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
It pays benefits to those that are self-employed as well as independent contractors. PUA isn’t technically part of a state’s unemployment insurance framework, according to experts, so the state is still setting up exactly how it will work.
“We know how crucial it is for individuals under this category that they receive their benefits, and we are working as fast as we can to try to get this implemented in the right fashion,” said Mendez.
The unemployment office says they don’t have a date when the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will be set up, and asks that if you are an independent contractor or are self-employed, not to apply on the regular unemployment site yet.
– Source: Bryan Hofmann – ktvn.com