WASHINGTON - The spread of the coronavirus into the District, Northern Virginia and Maryland is threatening a number of jobs as gathering places like restaurants and bars are severely restricted or - in some cases - shut down.
In response, D.C., Virginia and Maryland have passed legislation that seeks to alleviate the burden of unemployment on residents.
The D.C. council passed emergency legislation earlier in the week designed to cushion the financial blow of COVID-19.
The bill included a measure extending unemployment benefits for anyone who loses their job because of COVID-19.
Here’s who is eligible to file a claim in D.C.:
- An employee (an employee means any individual employed by an employer) taking care of:
- A spouse or domestic partner
- The parents of either the employee or the spouse
- Children, including grandchildren and foster children
- Brothers and sisters of either the employee or the spouse
- A residing child for whom the employee has parental responsibility
- A person who has co-habituated with the employee for no less than 12 months
The following people are not covered:
- Independent contractors
- Healthcare workers who choose to participate in a premium pay program
- Volunteers who work in non-profit organizations, charitable, religious or educational establishments
- Appointed or elected lay members engaged in religious functions in any religious organization
- Employees in the construction or building industry covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement
- Casual babysitters
The Maryland General Assembly adjourned early for the first time since the Civil War, but not without passing an emergency measure in response to the coronavirus and making of millions of dollars available to the governor to respond.
In addition to consumer protections like guidelines against price gouging, the bill extends unemployment benefits to people who exhaust their sick leave and people who are caring for a family member.
Maryland’s unemployment office has provided a web page responding to a number of questions about unemployment caused by COVID-19.
Click here to claim unemployment in the state of Maryland.
On Tuesday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that service industry workers facing financial shortfalls from briefer shifts or closures caused by the coronavirus could apply for unemployment.
Northam has also mandated that the one week waiting period to apply for unemployment be suspended, and that the requirement to conduct a weekly job search be suspended.
Like Maryland, Virginia has set up an informational FAQ for people wondering whether they can apply for unemployment because of conditions brought on by COVID-19.
You can file for an unemployment claim in Virginia by clicking here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report