Hertz Arena, Florida Everblades makes tough layoffs amid pandemic

Reporter: Sara Girard Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

As companies close their doors and lose money, people are also losing their jobs. President Donald Trump is expected to sign a stimulus bill. So we looked at whether it will it be enough to help people get through.

We spoke with people who are trying to figure out how to make ends meet during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A man we interviewed Wednesday said he and 14 other employees who work for Hertz Arena and the Florida Everblades hockey club in Estero are now without work.

And so far, applying for unemployment has not been easy.

“I was actually at home when I found out the news by phone yesterday,” said Dan Corcoran, now former public relations manager and broadcaster for the Everblades.

Corcoran is still figuring things out. He says he and 14 of his coworkers are out of a job, as the current pandemic has canceled events and threatened revenue.

“For me, kind of have to look for employment from the standpoint of health insurance, and, obviously, I need income until whatever happens or whatever sorts out,” Corcoran said.

He says, this morning, he tried to apply for unemployment through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and ran into problems.

“I had issues with having my identity authenticated on the website,” Corcoran said. “So I had to call the hotline to get that sorted out. And, due to the number of calls, I wasn’t able to get through to anybody, and the system automatically hung up on me.”

Corcoran canceled his lease and plans to move home to Wisconsin, hopefully staying with family until he can land a new job.

“To try to find a job outside of the sports industry during this time is certainly a tall task,” Corcoran said.

Those who are also having a hard time applying for unemployment are told to be patient. DEO says due to the heavy online traffic and a high-call volume, it will be a slower process. DEO suggests reading their FAQs and watching their videos, so people are fully prepared of the application process. Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis acknowledged these issues and directed the DEO to expand its call centers.

Hertz Arena told us that the current layoffs are unfortunate, and it’s the first and hopefully last time they have to do it. They pray for the wellbeing of everyone. They want people to stay safe and be cautious, and they hope to bring back everyone when it’s over.

In the meantime, as the federal government sorts out its stimulus package and how much money it’s going to send out to Americans, Corcoran hopes it’s enough.

“I’m pretty fortunate in having a job that at least had benefits that will at least carry through till the end of the month,” Corcoran said. “And there’s a lot of people out there in Southwest Florida who aren’t that fortunate and who are relying on an hourly income. And, as soon as that dries up, they’re living paycheck to paycheck.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.