Empower Wisconsin | May 21, 2020
MILWAUKEE — After 10 long weeks of busy signals, blocked calls and silence, Amanda Worley finally got her first unemployment check last week.
The Green Bay waitress, like hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin workers, lost her job when Gov. Tony Evers began closing the state in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Bars, restaurants and others in the hospitality trade were the first ordered shut down by the state, leading the ranks of what Team Evers considered “non-essential” businesses.
While Worley finally made it through the maze of a dysfunctional state unemployment system, she says she has nothing to go back to.
“I just got a notice from the restaurant I worked at, they are not reopening,” she told Empower Wisconsin’s M.D. Kittle Friday on the Jay Weber Show, on NewsTalk 1130 WiSN in Milwaukee. “They didn’t make it through the shutdown. I now have to start looking at other options, other places for employment.”
Joel Posthuma, owner of 6th Gear, a bar and grill in Beaver Dam, faced a tough decision earlier this month, before the Wisconsin Supreme Court tossed out the Evers administration’s extended lockdown. He could either open his establishment in defiance of the emergency order or watch his business die.
“You come to a fork in the road. You don’t have a choice. It’s either you go out (of business) or you fight to survive, Posthuma said. “I don’t give up easily, and I don’t fail. I took a gamble. I know I was going to be either a hero or a zero — there was no on-between.”
The restaurant owner and the displaced waitress are our guests on this edition of PowerUp, Empower Wisconsin’s podcast.