OAKLAND, Calif. - At midnight, COVID-19 will have outlived the $600 weekly Federal unemployment supplement program, passed to keep the beneficiaries and the economy going.
In its simplest terms, failure to renew this program will be yet another major economic disaster.
When the $600 weekly Federal unemployment supplement ends on Friday, come Saturday morning, 30 million recipient's unemployment benefits, including more than 3 million Californians, will fall, on average, 65%.
Despite this reality, Congress is not acting to renew the benefit as yet. That will do grievous financial damage to the recipients and the further degrade the overall economy.
One example is rideshare and food delivery driver Omar Yacoubi whose business all but collapsed with the pandemic.
"I need to be able to pay rent and then, on top of that, now I used some of the federal bonus on a down payment for a used car to try to lower my monthly payment and I'm gonna have to start making payments on that car," said Yacoubi.
But with the federal bonus running out, Yacoubi, who does not want to lose his apartment and car, must now return to risky rideshare driving, risky even when it was just regular cold and flu season.
"I've been around sick passengers and had that tickle in my throat, you know, and had that couple of days of wondering. With coronavirus is 5 to 14 days of wondering. You know. Do I have it? Do I have it?," said Yacoubi.
Marri Cleghorn is a salon receptionist and has a theater degree working actress gigs.
"Once we heard that the shutdown was going into effect, my job immediately closed, that was my last day of work," said Cleghorn. And that was four and a half months ago; four months of which was a fruitless fight with bureaucracy to get any benefits.
"I just, or literally started receiving benefits from them about two to three weeks ago because there was this whole battle of me trying to contact them about what was going on with my account," said Cleghorn.
Cleghorn will be cut off from her just received weekly federal payment as of Saturday.
"I'm definitely nervous about the future. I was just thinking about that. I'll be leaving soon because my lease is up. We don't know what's going to happen," said Cleghorn.
"Maybe if they could just phase out the bonus instead of just sending people off that cliff," said Yacoubi.
Congress is expected to eventually replace the $600 with another amount. But how much, and when, is unknown to 30 million very interested and scared recipients.