Emily Branam at her salon before the mandatory temporary closure. Photo courtesy of Emily Branam.

COVID-19 Pushing Unemployment Rates Higher in Ohio

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Unemployment rates continue to climb since the outbreak of COVID-19. Many Ohio businesses are closed following Gov. Mike DeWine’s orders this month. The businesses deemed non-essential including hairdressers, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and any other type of salon. Now, the people who were working those service industry jobs are out of work.

“With a sad heart…” Perfect Image posted this note on their door regarding the temporary closure. The note reads: “We will re-open as soon as possible.”

“I’m glad that we’re not at work anymore because, if we were, we would someone be contributing to what’s going on right now.” said stylist Emily Branam at Perfect Image hair salon in Columbus, Ohio, one of the businesses affected by the pandemic.She has worked for the salon since 2018.

Branam said she is content with staying home from work to following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s standards of social distancing.

“If we need to do this right now then let’s just do it and get it over with,” she said.

For this hairstylist, complying with the CDC and Gov. DeWine means she is out of work until it has been deemed safe to return. Since the announcement of her salon’s closure, her income has been cut off. At 21-years old, Branam said she never thought she’d have to file for unemployment.

Branam has yet to find success in getting through on the unemployment website.

It’s been a little bit difficult because everybody’s on the website all at once,” she said.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services is urging patience by those filing for unemployment. ODJFS said delays in processing applications are unavoidable but claims will be processed as soon as possible.

Emily Branam at her salon before the government ordered temporary closure. Photo courtsey of Emily Branam.

“Until I figure out my unemployment, it’s hard to say what I’m going to need to be doing within the next few months,” Branam said.

Within the next week, she said she hopes to know whether she will even qualify for benefits.

Most people who work a service job like Branam are unable to work from home and rely on government support at this time.

The Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board prohibits the practice of services from one’s home. As listed in their rules and regulations one may not “practice a branch of cosmetology in a location other than a licensed facility.” Breaking this rule would result in consequences and potentially losing the cosmetology license.

A reopening date has not been set for these businesses.