After months of unemployment, back at work but not feeling secure.

After months of unemployment, back at work but not feeling secure.


Kris Fusco is finally back at work. That doesn’t mean her coronavirus worries are behind her.

When Ms. Fusco’s employer — a small, family-owned business in Massachusetts that rents musical instruments to students — laid her off in March, she expected to be out of work for a couple of weeks. That got extended to April, then to June. Eventually one of the owners called her to tell her they didn’t know when they could reopen.

“I said, ‘You do what you need to do to keep your business afloat, and I’m just going to hold on as long as I can,’” she said.

Ms. Fusco, 50, said she was able to get through the extended layoff because of the $600 a week that the federal government was adding to unemployment benefits. She still had to dip into savings, but she was able to pay rent and meet her other obligations. When the benefit supplement expired at the end of last month, however, she had little cushion.

Fortunately, her employer called her back just in time. She returned to work last week, and, despite some nervousness about going into the office with the virus still spreading, she said she was grateful for the paycheck.

But Ms. Fusco doesn’t know how long her good fortune will last. With many schools still teaching remotely or canceling activities like band, she worries that her company’s business will suffer. Already, she has noticed a large number of instruments being returned.

“It’s very worrisome for me because I can see the snowball effect from Covid-19 all around me,” she said. “It’s always lurking right behind my eyeballs that in six months I might be out of a job again.”



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