Texas delays work search requirement for unemployment benefits

The state of Texas will hold off on asking people to begin looking for work in order to keep their unemployment benefits.

The Texas Workforce Commission made the announcement Tuesday because of a statewide spike in coronavirus case.

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“Due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Texas, TWC has decided to pause the return of work search requirements at this time,” said Ed Serna, TWC Executive Director.

The agency had planned to begin requiring that everyone receiving unemployment benefits -- including those in high-risk health categories -- apply for at least three jobs a week after July 6. They would have also been required to accept any job offered.

RELATED: Texas to begin requiring unemployed to search for jobs in July

Mike Schoder, the owner of Granada Theater, says the pandemic hits hardest when he thinks of the employees he’s had to lay off.

“You would never think that you’d have to go through a heartbreaking moment where you have to lay off almost your entire staff,” he said.

Schoder runs the music venue at Granada Theater and the restaurant at Sundown at Granada.

Restaurants are operating at 50 percent capacity, so Schoder has been able to bring back some staff. But there’s no telling when it’ll be safe for concerts to return.

“It’s the toughest thing in the world when you have to lay off 75 of your 85 employees,” he said.

Schoder is grateful the ones he’s laid-off are receiving benefits.

“We can’t really tell our employees what’s going to happen,” he said. “We want to get back to doing what we do.”

Still, Schoder knows there’s not much available in this line of work and hopes they can safely reopen as soon as possible.

People like Heather Bohannan had expressed concerns about their health. She previously worked at a restaurant but was furloughed.

Bohannan said returning to the foodservice industry would be a challenge because she has asthma. Wearing a mask makes her feel faint.

She and others will now continue to receive benefits without having to prove that they are applying for jobs.

TWC said it will continue to monitor the situation and make further recommendations in late July.

The TWC says there are over half a million jobs available on workintexas.com.

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