It’s been nearly six months since life as Orlin Stoyanov knew it changed.
“I keep telling the same story,” he said.
Orlin says he was working as a therapist at a chiropractic facility when the pandemic hit.
“We got furloughed in mid-March,” he said, adding that he had not yet been called back to work.
“They told me they’ve lost a lot of their patients,” he said.
Orlin says his side gigs with his band have been postponed until 2021, forcing him to search for other jobs as he struggles to make ends meet during the pandemic.
“I’ve been on one job interview in the last five months,” he said. “I’ve been applying to places. They either don’t call back or the offer is like, we got 10 hours. What am I going to do with 10 hours? That’s not going to pay my bills.”
State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez has heard from constituents who are going through similar struggles – especially after the enhanced federal unemployment benefits expired in July.
“Those $600 was for rent, medications,” Rodriguez said. “It was not a luxury, particularly in South Florida. So it’s having a real impact on people.”
The latest unemployment numbers released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity showed signs of an improving economy, with the unemployment rate decreasing in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties from July to August. But the level of unemployment was still much higher than it was a year ago. The DEO said the hardest hit industry was hospitality and leisure, which lost 249,000 jobs over the year – a reduction of 19.8%.
“I don’t think anybody really knew this was going to drag on this long,” Orlin said.
Orlin says he is worried by how long the economy will take to bounce back as the effects of the pandemic continue to linger.
“Initially I thought it was going to last a couple of weeks, really,” he said. “And now, I don’t even think that anything will happen until the end of the year.”