On March 17, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam banned gatherings of 10 or more people to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Mehyah Davis, 23, was in his second week of a new job waiting tables at the cryptid-inspired Wood Booger Grill in Norton, Va.
“That week, [my boss] cut the schedule,” Davis recounted. “Everybody only had one shift.”
A week later, the governor banned dine-in service at all restaurants. Davis was out of a job. “I’m about to apply for unemployment as we speak,” Davis said.
The economic toll of coronavirus-related shutdowns has reached even the most rural communities as governments move to stave off an even more dire public health crisis. In Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia combined, more than 750,000 people filed unemployment insurance claims over a two-week period, and economists agree that America has entered a recession.