US News 'I'm all alone': Anxiety for those made jobless after virus outbreak

18:40  17 march  2020
18:40  17 march  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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a woman standing in front of a window: Freelance workers have spoken of the uncertainty they face © Getty Freelance workers have spoken of the uncertainty they face

As the coronavirus continues to spread in the UK, the impact is being felt by the increasing numbers of people losing their jobs and missing out on work.

Retailer Laura Ashley is set to become the first retail casualty of the coronavirus crisis, placing 2,700 jobs at risk as it looked to appoint administrators.

The company blamed its troubles on a "significant" drop-off in trade with no end to the coronavirus crisis in sight.

The cancellation of all football matches and the Grand National have also dealt a "huge blow".

a close up of a man wearing glasses: Jayaraj Nambiar said job opportunities had 'vaporised' © Other Jayaraj Nambiar said job opportunities had 'vaporised'

Frank McKenna, chief executive of Liverpool's Downtown in Business networking group, said: "We're looking at job losses, significant job losses, we are looking at establishments closing their doors and perhaps never reopening them."

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And Britain's airports have said jobs are at risk, with the possibility of them halting operations and closing up altogether still on the cards.

They have asked the government to include them in any aviation sector support with the lack of flights out of the UK posing a threat to their businesses.

Freelance IT management consultant Jayaraj Nambiar, 47, from Leeds, told Sky News job opportunities had "vaporised" for people in his position.

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Luke Park said the virus had 'shut out the lights' on the business he works for © Other Luke Park said the virus had 'shut out the lights' on the business he works for

"People are reluctant to take anyone on, companies are hesitating to hire people," he said. "Coronavirus hit and there's a fresh set of challenges facing people like me.

"Companies have no clue about their own future and they're postponing hiring staff.

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"I make my bed in the morning so I won't get back into it. I try to regulate my breathing and listen to a lot of deep relaxation music," she says. " Those questions point me to think about what I have done during the day and what's been positive, and also write about the things that I ' m worrying about," she

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"People are sitting at home and twiddling their thumbs and people can't claim benefits because they're not technically jobless.

"I don't know where my next paycheck is going to come from - it causes a lot of anxiety in terms of keeping up with commitments.


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"And if there's a big gap on my CV, it doesn't reflect well on me. Opportunities have just vaporised, nothing exists, there are no opportunities out there at the moment."

Mr Nambiar said being at home could have a negative effect on people's mental health.

"If I was in an office, someone would have picked up on my signs, and I have a shoulder to cry on," he said. "But at home, all alone, it's a dangerous place to be in uncertain times."

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Kathlyn-Nicole Milne, 25, who is originally from Scotland but now lives in London, is also among those struggling for work following the outbreak.

She works as a freelance actor and works a few different jobs between acting gigs to pay bills.

Gallery: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world (Photos)

"My main income comes from a walking tours company. The company is Italian so they had to cancel all tours in Italy. This then affected us in the London branch where they reduced the amount of work freelancers could do," she told Sky News.

"Eventually I lost all work completely as the only tour they were allowing us to do was the Warner Bros studio tour.

"The studios have closed now until further notice which unfortunately means I'm out of a job, the company even told us we are best to start looking for a new job.

"It's terrifying living in London - it's expensive - and I'm now searching for a new job. This is in no way the company I worked for's fault. They did everything they could to keep us as long as they could and they hope in the future they can offer our jobs back to us."

The business 26-year-old Carol, from Norfolk, works for has had to close down.

Gallery: Events that have been cancelled or delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic (Photos)

She told Sky News: "I was an administration contractor for a recruitment agency but because of the virus, companies and candidates have been withdrawing roles and saying they're unavailable to attend interviews, which has meant the small business has had to close."

Luke Park, 42, from Cambridge, works for a printing company which has suffered after the virus outbreak effectively "shut out the lights".

"Nothing we have done, our clients absolutely love us, but most of them have been sent to work from home, all exhibitions that were booked in or coming up have all been cancelled until September at the earliest," he told Sky News.

"Everything we supply, it seems, has been the first thing to be cut from companies' budgets."

He added: "I fear for myself, my family and what effect this terrible approach by the UK government will have on thousands more people. Not only are thousands going to die, but many, many more will be left homeless, bankrupt and maybe even end up in prison."

Freelance photographer Ellie Hoskins, 28, from Essex, makes her living taking pictures at events but has had cancellation after cancellation.

She told Sky News: "I've had four jobs cancelled in less than a week and no new bookings and my remaining work is looking extremely unlikely to go ahead.

"I get no sick pay and there's nothing on the government website to say what to do as a freelancer. It's looking like I'm going to be out of work for months with no financial support."

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock responded to concerns about the government's measures and acknowledged that the latest advice would have consequences.

"We're advising against all unnecessary social contact," he said. "I appreciate that this has consequences and I regret having to take these measures, I really do, but we are having to fight this virus."

Click or tap here for the latest travel advice for people travelling back to the UK from affected areas, including whether to self-isolate. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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