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More people laid off as economic recovery likely to be slow

While the state looks at slowly getting things back to normal, more people are being laid off.

Estero-based Hertz announced Tuesday they were forced to lay off some employees who had already been furloughed.

One employee who wanted to remain anonymous said the news was a surprise for many of the employees, who never expected to lose their jobs. Now, they join many others who are unemployed and hoping the economy takes a turn for the best – and soon.

People like Rachel Meltzer, a single mom who lost her job at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre a month ago.

“I’m used to having money and income coming in to replenish what bills are being taken out, so for me, I didn’t realize how all of that added up,” she said.

Others are facing the same financial concerns, including small business owners. Many were expecting a $10,000 advance from the Small Business Administration, but on Tuesday, they received messages saying they’ll only get $1,000 per employee, leaving nothing for sole proprietors who John Gallagher, a certified public accountant, works with every day.

“Many of the ones who were counting on this advance of $10,000, they’re just devastated,” Gallagher said. “We don’t even realize the extent of the damage that’s occurred.”

With thousands of people out of jobs and thousands of businesses short on dollars, Florida Gulf Coast University economist Dr. Tom Smythe said it’s going to be a long road to recovery.

“It’s not going to be like flipping a switch. There’s going to be some starts and stops,” he said. “It may take a little bit more time for especially the hospitality and tourism industry to ramp back up.”

Until then, Meltzer is doing everything she can to stay hopeful.

“I’m trying to stay positive. I’ve just been trying to stay busy.”

Though economists say the road to economic recovery is long and some businesses will not make it, they do think there is hope that we’ll see the economy take off again.

Gallagher said once things open back up, he thinks people will support businesses after being home for so long.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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