RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As the cases of coronavirus continue to rise in the commonwealth, many businesses have laid off their employees.

Servers, bartenders, busboys and cooks, among other professions are feeling the effects of several restaurants closing down in Richmond.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced people who work in the restaurant industry and are facing financial hardships because of shortened hours or closed down restaurants can apply for unemployment.

The governor has asked the commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period so that workers don’t have to wait for unemployment benefits.

Virginia workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits based on the following:

  • Their employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to coronavirus
  • They are in self-quarantine but not receiving sick pay or medical leave from their employer
  • They are staying home to take care of ill family member and not receiving paid family medical leave

Northam’s administration told the Virginia Employment Commission to give those receiving unemployment insurance special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.

“If you are a worker who has been totally or partially separated from your job due to coronavirus, please note that no claim for unemployment insurance may be filed or processed until an actual lay off from employment has occurred, or until there has been an actual reduction in hours,” the Virginia Employment Commission said.

When applying to unemployment, be sure to check the reason for separation as “Lack of Work/Lay off.”

Currently, the maximum weekly benefit amount in Virginia is $378.

To file a new claim for unemployment benefits click here or call 1-866-832-2363 (Monday through Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm).