WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Nearly a quarter of all residents in Sedgwick County filed for unemployment, and some believe the number could be even higher than that.
The Department of Labor reports between March 21 and April 25, 62,000 people have filed and that number is expected to rise after Spirit Aerosystems will begin another round of furloughs in the coming weeks.
“Being a business owner I have two sets of rent, and two sets of bills and zero income,” said Dacia Chambers who owns Beauty Asylum hair salon.
While other businesses are allowed to reopen, salons still can not for another couple of weeks.
“We get a lot of promises and no income,” Chambers said.
Salons like Aslyum Beauty say six weeks later and still no income, no customers, and nothing they can take to the bank to make them feel comfortable. Chambers said she filed for assistance from the state but hasn’t received any money.
“Terrifying, frustrating and infuriating,” said Chambers.
She is just ready to strip the closed signs off of her window and get people back in her salon chairs.
“It is like we have just been cast aside like throwaways, and it is very frustrating,” Chambers said. “Now, we have two more weeks which will be a total of eight weeks with zero income.”
“In my opinion, get small businesses open in a safe responsible manner,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell. “There are numerous small business owners who I am personally friends with, I am sure we all know someone, who are dying to get back to work.”
Chambers hopes the damage is not irreversible, but O’Donnell fears that with nearly 25% of people filing for unemployment, the true impact for businesses and the local economy still not known.
“We have a major problem here on the horizon. I do not think anybody has the ability to grasp the severity of it right now because we are still in the middle of that storm right,” O’Donnell said.