Rise in unemployment leaves Tri-Cities people in need of answers


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – It’s one of the most troubling side effects from the Coronavirus pandemic.

About 250,000 initial claims have been filed for unemployment in Tennessee.

“One of the real detrimental impacts that have happened to Tennesseans in the midst of this,” Governor Bill Lee said Tuesday.

Tennesseans everywhere, including Johnson City resident Rachel Ollis.

“Well I’m just trying to hang in there and be hopeful trying to do the best with what I’ve got right now,” Ollis said.

Ollis works at a now-temporarily-closed down Mellow Mushroom.

“Our numbers were good so I thought from a job security standpoint I was OK, I didn’t have any concerns,” Ollis said.

But in times like these, nothing is guaranteed, and Ollis was forced to apply for unemployment benefits, but that hasn’t been a breeze either.

“I knew that a lot of people had applied and had a difficult time accessing the site, I know that the site itself has had a high increase in traffic,” Ollis said.

It took her multiple times to even get the application processed but she says the scary part comes now: she has no idea when she will see that relief come through.

“I’m hoping that in the next couple of weeks I might see some kind of relief and some kind of financial help,” Ollis said.

In tough times like these, the mindset to get you through it: just stay positive.

“Yeah I’ve just been trying to be a hopeful one and try to tell everybody just to hang in there and try to support everybody it’s the best time to be kind now more than ever,” Ollis said.

You can find Michael Epps on Facebook and Twitter.

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