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Hundreds line up in Florida to apply for unemployment benefits

Issues with Florida’s online portal for unemployment applications forced hundreds of South Floridians to line up Tuesday for paper applications despite the health risk during the coronavirus pandemic.
In Hialeah, north of Miami, dozens of people lined up for help, with varying levels of adherence to social distancing protocols. Some wore facial coverings and kept at least six feet apart from one another, while others stood closer or wore no masks, a South Florida NBC affiliate reported.
Aerial footage above South Florida shows hundreds of residents risking possible coronavirus exposure — lining up to get paper applications for unemployment benefits as the state tries to fix problems with online filing. https://t.co/5pZApEVjY4 pic.twitter.com/DdiLX2YLrd
— ABC News (@ABC) April 8, 2020
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Monday the state has added staff to its unemployment system, which was unprepared for the surge in applicants who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Since March 15, more than 520,000 Floridians have applied for unemployment, more than the 326,000 who applied throughout 2019.
DeSantis said this week that the state has increased the online unemployment system’s capacity, equipping it to handle up to 120,000 connections at once, which is about twice the peak of the recent usage since the surge began.
A recent study by Oxford Economics named Florida and Nevada as the two states most economically vulnerable to the pandemic, with Florida the most at-risk, heavily populated state due to a combination of an older than average population and a state and local economy heavily dependent on retail and tourism.
“Lockdown and containment measures are the key determinants of first-round economic impacts of the coronavirus, but structural economic vulnerabilities determine the severity of second-round impacts,” Oxford lead economist Oren Klachkin wrote, according to Reuters.