North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday an executive order to make it easier for workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic to access unemployment insurance benefits.
The executive order eliminated the one-week waiting period for benefits. It removed the requirement that recipients have to be looking for work while they receive benefits. In some cases, people who have their work hours reduced will be able to file for benefits, as well as people who are laid off from their jobs.
In an effort to keep face-to-face contact minimal, the executive order additionally waived the in-person interview requirements for applications. The interview can be done over the phone instead.
People can file for unemployment insurance benefits through the North Carolina Department of Commerce website at des.nc.gov, or call (888) 737-0259.
The executive order also means employers won’t be penalized in taxes for employees who file for unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 related causes, according to the governor.
The executive order was set to take effect at 5 p.m. today. The same order also closed dine-in restaurants and bars across the state, but allowed them to continue offering take-out and delivery options where available.