MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Since mid-November, when new restaurant and gym restrictions started, 50,000 Minnesotans have filed for unemployment benefits. That’s triple the rate from what it was in August.

Amy Green is a hospitality pro. She’s been in the business 24 years, serving at Plums and J.R. Macs Bar & Grill. They are jobs she loves, jobs that new restrictions have changed.

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“I went from 40 hours a week to now I’m working three days a week, three hours a day each day doing to-go food,” she said.

That means a lot less money is coming in. Same for thousands who are part of this Twin Cities Hospitality Facebook Group.

A poll from the group says most are receiving $300 to $400 a week in unemployment, some as little as $100 a week.

“Being shut down the way we’ve been shut down, there’s seemingly no end and the assistance just has not been there, can’t pay our bills on the little bit we get from unemployment,” Green said.

Since the recent restrictions, unemployment claims are the highest they’ve been since June. Neel Kashkari is President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; he spoke on the economy Friday morning.

“As the virus has amped back up and the economy has tapered off, so that makes sense why that is happening,” he said.

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Kashkari says the vaccine is hope for both health and wealth.

“If we can get the vaccines adopted then it seems like the second half of 2021 could be a strong economy. But the path between here and there is going to be unfortunately quite rocky,” he said.

Kashkari is asking for more federal assistance. So is Green, who wants desperately to get back to work.

“We want to be there but we can’t. We are doing what we can do,” she said.

Currently, those who filed for unemployment are eligible for about 50% percent of their weekly wage.

The additional federal assistance has expired.

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Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield