10 • July 29 - 30, 2020 STATE bransonglobe.com Missouri Department of Labor releases benefit numbers, hiring additional staffing resources Jefferson City, MO –– The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DOLIR’s), Division of Employment Security (DES) reports that it has processed over $3.4 billion in unemployment benefit payments to more than 490,000 unemployed Missourians since the beginning of the pandemic in March. In the last few months, the DES saw a 254% increase in initial claims compared to all the initial claims it processed in 2019. To handle the historic number of claims, the DES utilized 300+ staff from all their program areas, other DOLIR divisions, nine other Missouri state agencies and outside call center vendor help. It also hired both temporary and full-time staff to assist citizens in processing claims. While UInteract, the unemployment claims online filing system, has overall been reliably operating in response to the historical claims volume, there have been instances of system downtime to increase capacity in order to more effecSEE DEPT. OF LABOR, PAGE 15 MDC re-closes St. Louis regional office amid rising COVID-19 cases By Dan Zarlenga Courtesy of MDC St. CHARLES, Mo.—The incidence of COVID-19 cases has seen a significant rise in recent weeks, prompting the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to close its St. Louis Regional Office on the August A Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles to the public. The regional office closure is effective immediately until further notice. All outdoor spaces and fishing lakes on the conservation area remain open. The All In Bait & Tackle Shop, operated by an independent vendor, will also remain open. Visitors are reminded to observe social distancing and other COVID-19-related guidelines when on the area. According to the St. Charles County online COVID-19 dashboard (https://www.sccmo. org/2105/COVID-19), the incidence of confirmed cases from the disease in the last 14 days has SEE MDC, PAGE 16 Congress considers emergency funds to keep libraries open in Missouri By Mary Schuermann Kuhlman Courtesy of Public News Service JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Federal lawmakers are considering legislation that would help keep library doors open in Missouri in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. From digital programming to curbside pickup, libraries across the state have pivoted their offerings in order to safely provide materials to community members. At the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, Executive Director Margaret Conroy says they’ve shifting funding from programming needs to health and safety supplies. “The masks, the sanitation cleaning expenses, shields, all the kinds of things that we’re putting in place to keep our staff and our public safe,” says Conroy. “And those, of course, were unanticipated expenses at the beginning of the year.” SEE LIBRARIES, PAGE 17

11 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication