LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- As businesses rebound, valley families are slow to feel the effects of the reopening economy. From schools closed to unemployment issues, one family walked FOX5 through the problems that linger for so many.
“March 14 was my last day.”
That was Larry Ehrlich’s last day picking up a customer as a rideshare driver. CCSD closed its schools on March 17, turning Ehrlich into a stay-at-home dad.
“My wife is considered an essential employee,” he said. She works long hours at a valley store, leaving Ehrlich to take care of their two sons, ages six and 10.
“It was a shock at first,” he said. “It was like, what am I doing?”
Ehrlich filed for unemployment and was denied. Then he signed up for Nevada’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the state’s program for gig workers.
“You call and call and call,” he said. “Sometimes you get through. Anywhere between the five and seven minute mark of being on hold, it completely shuts you out.”
Like many others, he has gotten no answers and no state or federal help.
“When it comes, it comes, hopefully it comes soon,” he said. “I like many other drivers just want this to be done and over with.”
About 14 weeks and $12,000 owed, according to Ehrlich’s calculations. The rideshare driver said he doesn’t want to have to rely on the state for help. He’d like to get back behind the wheel.
“That’s been the difficult part,” he said. “Would I be out there? Absolutely.”
But with two kids, a working wife, and no summer schools in session, “that’s a big issue, not having that structure for them.”
Ehrlich is homebound until August. The Ehrlich family knows their story isn’t different from many others in the Las Vegas valley.
“We’ve had to put off on our cell phone bill, the electric bill, other bills in the house and now with everything opening back up, now creditors are starting to call and say, hey where’s our money,” he said.
Ehrlich said even if business is slow for drivers right now, he’s banking on pent-up demand to bounce back.
“It seems it will be mostly weekends to start because that’s when folks come up from California,” he said. “After school starts, I’ll slowly work the week to see who is needing rides to and from work again.”