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What you should do if your business is closed because of coronavirus concerns

Certified Financial Planner Sherri Goss said the first thing you should do is file for unemployment

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Businesses across Central Georgia are closing their doors amid coronavirus concerns, and some employees are left wondering where their next paycheck will come from.

The doors of Between Friends Coffee are still open in Warner Robins, but they decided to cut back their hours.

"It's that fine line in do we panic and close, or do we stay open and act like everything is okay. We're trying to walk that fine line to make everybody happy," said co-owner Jaimie Miller.

Both co-owners Miller and Victoria Hawkins said choosing to remain open was a hard decision, but they know people rely on those paychecks.

"We can't shut down. I mean we've got employees who depend... this is their only job now. We don’t get the bailouts, we don’t have that safety net that some places do. If we close, nobody gets paid, but we still have to pay rent, we still have to pay our utilities," said Miller.

Certified Financial Planner Sherri Goss says if your business does decide to close, the first thing you should do is file for unemployment.

"See if they can get something there because something is better than nothing," said Goss.

The Georgia Department of Labor says employers who decide to close their doors due to the virus should file a partial claim online for all of their employees.

Those employees will receive their full salary, unless they have deductions like child support.

Kersha Cartwright said over the phone, so far they haven't received too many requests, but she knows they are about to be inundated. 

She said if everything goes according to plan, those employees will get their money within 24 hours of filing. 

Cartwright also said they are encouraging everyone to do it all online or over the phone. They are also temporarily suspending in-person requirements.

Goss said if your business is closed, this is a good time to take a look at your finances.

"Go through your spending and really evaluate where your money goes each month," she said. "Maybe there’s things you subscribe to that you don’t... like a gym membership that you no longer use and cut out the spending that is not absolutely necessary."

She said this is a time to make a plan for the next time there is a major financial problem.

"This is a huge reminder that everyone needs a savings account. Some sort of backup savings that you can fall back on when stuff doesn't go right," she said.

Goss also said if you need extra cash during the time off, try getting a side gig.

"Think about your skill set. Let’s say you’re a teacher and you’re out of work for a month, which some local schools are, why not take on tutoring? Why not reach out to your neighborhood," said Goss.

She also predicts when this is all over, businesses will bounce back.

"When this ends, we’re going to see a total turn in the other direction. We’re gonna see where people who have been stuck at home want to get out, people who haven’t been eating out are going to want to go out, people who wanted to travel and had to cancel their trips are going to reschedule their trips, I mean everything is going to be a push in the other direction," she said.

But for the time being, Hawkins says she hopes they can keep making coffee for their loyal customers.

"I really don't even want to think about having to close down, but for someone's safety, were that to ever happen, that's something we'd have to do," said Hawkins.

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FACTS NOT FEAR | At 13WMAZ, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the coronavirus. To see our full coverage, visit our site section here: www.13wmaz.com/Coronavirus.  

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