More than 54,000 Hoosiers filed for unemployment benefits last week, as restaurants, hotels and other businesses began shutting down temporarily amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The same week one year ago had only 3,100 people file for unemployment benefits in Indiana.
Gov. Eric Holcomb revealed the number Monday as he ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down through April 7, unless their employees are working from home.
Holcomb said the move is necessary to try to stop the spread of the virus.
Indiana has 259 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 and has had seven deaths. Marion County has been hit the hardest with 110 confirmed cases.
“We know, one infected person infects two, and those two infect two more—and so on, and so on,” Holcomb said.
The governor has promised that state will take a broad view of the rules governing who qualifies for unemployment.
He also announced Monday that state government would close its offices, including WorkOne centers that serve people who are unemployed. However, the state is continuing to take unemployment applications online.
“We made the difficult decision to close the offices in light of state and federal guidelines restricting public interactions,” DWD Commissioner Fred Payne said in a statement. “Our online system helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and provides efficient processing of claims for unemployment insurance benefits.”