Tune in to 'Wake Up With Cheddar' at 8:30 am ET on Friday, May 8 for the biggest headlines coming from the April jobs report.

Businesses from coast-to-coast were forced to closed their doors when the coronavirus outbreak arrived in the U.S. Practically overnight, 33 million Americans (so far) suddenly lost their livelihoods. Cheddar is speaking to some of these workers who have found themselves unexpectedly unemployed in today's turbulent environment.

Unexpectedly Unemployed: New Orleans Tour Guide Charlotte Jones

Unlike many industries hit hard by the economic downturn, tour guides in New Orleans never saw a decline in business. Carriage drivers like Charlotte Jones were giving tours right up until the city's stay-at-home order went into effect.

"I think a lot of us tried to just do as many tours as possible on that Saturday [March 14]. But on that Sunday it was clear we should not work. And on Monday, we were shut down," she said

Louisiana has been hit hard with COVID-19 cases, and its tourism-reliant economy is bearing the brunt of the illness.

"Even if my colleagues were able to go out and conduct tours at six feet apart, it's in no one's best interest right now, particularly since our health and safety comes first," Jones explained. Read more...

Unexpectedly Unemployed: Peace Corps Volunteer Sasha Kogan

For Sasha Kogan a Peace Corps volunteer, border closures caused by the pandemic meant a frantic multi-day evacuation from Cameroon to Washington, DC, culminating with her far from her NYC roots to find herself in Illinois without benefits or a clue as to what's next.

"I'm really sad — really, really sad — that I can't finish, at least not for the foreseeable future," she said. Read more...

Unexpectedly Unemployed: Seattle Journalist Lester Black

Lester Black, a Seattle journalist, saw the coronavirus pandemic coming, covering the crisis from the epicenter of the original American outbreak. He also became one of the first pandemic employment casualties in the U.S., after being laid off from his position as a staff writer for Seattle’s alternative newspaper, The Stranger.  

“We already were at a place where there was a news crisis in America,” Black said. “Before you knew the word coronavirus, there was a crisis of news in this country; there just is not enough reporters. And now what's left is being cut even further.” Read more...

Unexpectedly Unemployed: Tattoo Artist Nokomis Fairbanks

Nokomis Fairbanks started tattooing professionally three years ago and recently set up shop at Oracle Tattoo Guild in Lexington, Kentucky. Today, she has no idea when she will be able to pick up her needle again. 

Still, she is finding small ways to cope.

"We humans, by nature, are productive. And even when we think that we're doing nothing, we want to do something," she said. Read more...

Unexpectedly Unemployed: Commis Chef Andrew Branca

Empty tables were the first sign that it wasn’t business as usual. Andrew Branca is a commis chef at high-end restaurants Roister and the St. Clair Supper Club in downtown Chicago. As fears over coronavirus heightened this month, he saw the restaurant’s business fall off.

“We went from 160 covers at dinner to 60 covers a day,” Branca explained. “Twenty at lunch and 40 at dinner.”

After that, things happened pretty quickly.

Like many Americans, COVID-19 has left Branca at home, social distancing and trying to manage a life totally online.

But it is virtually impossible for service employees to Zoom in to serve tables or Skype a haircut, so people like Branca are not working right now. Read more...

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