A local businessman who wishes to remain anonymous called the Rhino Times because he couldn’t believe what he was reading was true.

He said, “It can’t be true that my employees will make more money if I fire them, can it?”

The reply is that if the employees are making $23 an hour or less, it is true.

Under the Coronavirus Aid and Economic Security Act, people who are receiving unemployment benefits from the states will receive an additional $600 a month until July 13. So that is $600 from the Stimulus Act and $350 from the state of North Carolina for $950 a week, which translates to $23.75 an hour for a 40-hour work week. Plus, the requirement that people on unemployment look for a job has been removed.

The business owner said that they were trying to do the right thing by keeping their employees on the payroll, even though there wasn’t much work, and had applied for a loan through the same Coronavirus Act to help pay that expense. But he said that it appeared his employees would actually be better off if he let them go and, of course, then he wouldn’t have had to do all the paperwork for the loan. Plus he wouldn’t have the concern that the loan wouldn’t be forgiven and he’d have to pay it back.

He added, “I have no idea when I’m going to get that money and we’re draining the account.”

He said he had been unable to get any information on when the money from the loan would actually hit his account, which meant he had no idea if he could keep paying his employees long enough for the loan to kick in.

But he said, “If these guys are making more money sitting at home, then there is no way I can get them back to work before July 13 and we want to be back up and running before then.”