Local out-of-work parents feel the burden of COVID-19

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — Catherine Bruce works at the AMC at Orange Park Mall in Clay County.

Tuesday morning she found out she’s will be out of a job for weeks as theaters nationwide shut their doors to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We already kind of had a feeling with the way we were slowing down, but I mean, we had the 50 percent capacity. We’ve been cleaning vigorously between the bar and theater staff,” Bruce said.

Bruce is a single mother and isn’t sure how she’s going to support her two young sons and her 80-year-old aunt.

“I rely on this money to help us get by, my aunt’s on Social Security. So, I mean, that helps a little, but we still have to get through these 6 to 12 weeks,” Bruce said.

And Bruce isn’t alone; across the country, unemployment has claims shot up.

The Labor Department reported 281,000 claims for the week of March 14, a jump of 70,000 claims from the previous week.

Bruce said getting by without her pay and tips is going to be a struggle.

“I could lose my car, you know, we could lose the place where we live,” Bruce said.

Earlier this week Regal Cinema and Cinemark also announced they would be closing to stop the spread of COVID-19,

Action News Jax has also reached out to AMC to see if it plans to pay employees during the time they will be closed.