By Rick Sallinger

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – It is Main Street Longmont, but it could be Main Street anywhere. Signs on the doors marked “closed due to the virus.”

The Pump House Brewery has left dozens of employees out of work. Since last Tuesday Cheryl Swanson, who worked there, has been trying to file for unemployment compensation.

(credit: CBS)

“There is only one way to get through, and that’s online. I tried to call, but they just say, ‘We don’t know anything else. Thank you for your patience,'” she said.

The state computers have been overwhelmed. Joe Barela the executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger more than a quarter million people attempted to get through to file on Monday alone.

He said changes are being made.

“We know people are frustrated. So are we. We are doing everything we can to have a system that meets their needs.”

(credit: CBS)

Filing on a day based on your name, he said, will become mandatory.

While handling the unemployment claims, the Department of Labor is doing some hiring itself. It is bringing on more call center operators to handle the surge of requests for information.

With the businesses on Main Street and elsewhere closed, the unemployment money is critical.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s going to take some time to get those checks in. The longer this takes, the longer it’s going to take to get that money,” said Swanson.

CBS4’s walk down Longmont’s Main street found the Barbed Wire Book Store partially open, but layoffs have taken place there.

“It’s the worst thing I had to start with the younger kids living at home,” said store owner Kathe Heinecken. She said
a lot of people have time on their hands to read now.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

Ironically or not, among the best selling books right now, “Hot Zone.” It’s about a viral epidemic.


If you need to file an unemployment claim and your last name begins with the letter A – M, file a claim on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, or after 12 noon on Saturday.

If you need to file an unemployment claim and your last name begins with the letter N – Z, file a claim on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or before 12 noon on Saturday.

Other tips:

• While filing the claim, click the Save & Finish Later button often, and click File a Claim to return to the last page you saved.
• File during non-peak hours (evenings after 8 p.m., late nights, early mornings). It may improve your experience.
• You must provide information about the reason you are no longer working for all employers from the last 18 months. If you have a lot of information to include, it is best if you type up this information before you start, then copy/paste at the appropriate time.
• Once finished, click Submit one time. When the claim is successfully submitted, you will receive a confirmation page and number.

Rick Sallinger


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