Unemployment issues having ripple effect through the economy

A lot of the unemployment stories shared have come out of the hospitality industry, including servers at restaurants and bars. However, layoffs are starting to go well beyond that, now hitting medical offices unrelated to treating the coronavirus — physical therapy, chiropractors, dentists, and more.

There's a good chance you've received calls over the past month from your dentist or doctor to reschedule cleanings, checkups and other routine appointments.

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Many private practices are shut down with revenue down by 80 percent or more in some cases. Low or no patients, emergency treatments only, some staff staying home are all factors.

New Smiles Dental employs 30 staffers across its three Northern Virginia locations in Stafford, Woodbridge and Alexandria.

The practice closed in March, excluding emergency procedures — adhering to Governor Ralph Northam’s order to close non-essential businesses.

FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis reports most of the staff is on furlough or applying for or receiving unemployment benefits.


Dr. Sabastian Bouroncle says he’s coming in about once a week to address emergency issues and procedures. He hopes to retain all his employees post COVID-19 but may have to start with a third of the staff returning and matriculate based on patients returning.

This scenario is a playing out at medical offices across the country and in the Washington, D.C. area including, ophthalmology, internist offices and more.

Dr. Bouroncle says there are two concerns — when medical offices fully reopen, patients will be fearful or apprehensive about returning due to potential COVID-19 community transmission. Also, PPE for staff and for patients.

The PPE shortage means private practices are also short which is concerning for when they reopen.

Dr. Bouroncle says the American Dental Association is urging state lawmakers to include medical professionals in private practice to the list of essential workers who need PPE.

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