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Nearly 3,000 unemployment claims filed here

Gloucester and Mathews have both experienced eight weeks straight of high unemployment claims since March 17, when Gov. Ralph Northam began issuing a series of executive orders that mandated the closure of some businesses, placed restrictions on others, and required that residents stay at home except to conduct essential business.

During the week ending April 4, three weeks into the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of initial unemployment claims hit a peak of 602 in Gloucester and 118 in Mathews. In the week before the lockdown began, only four Gloucester residents filed for unemployment, while Mathews had no one at all file.

In the ensuing weeks, the number of initial filings has dropped off steadily in both counties, with the week ending May 9 (the latest week for which such numbers were available) seeing 162 initial claims for unemployment in Gloucester and 22 in Mathews.

Over the eight weeks since the lockdown began, a total of 2,491 Gloucester reside...

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