New claims for unemployment in Georgia have more than doubled as businesses shut down amid coronavirus fears, the Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday.As businesses closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, weekly unemployment claims in Georgia more than doubled.


More than 12,000 people filed for unemployment benefits between March 15 and March 21, up from 5,445 the week before.


Salana Young, a bartender in Downtown Savannah, filed for unemployment and said her savings are depleted after the winter off season and a slow St. Patrick's Day.


“That savings is going to diminish quickly and rapidly when we can only — we can't even secure a savings that will last us more than two to four months for most people who work in Savannah in this industry,” Young said.


The GDOL will allow people to collect unemployment longer and earn up to $300 a week working part-time while still receiving the full unemployment amount. A new federal stimulus package also includes an extra $600 a month for those on unemployment.


The department implemented other emergency measures last week, including waiving work search requirements and expanding unemployment benefits to include people who are temporarily out of work because of the pandemic.


According to a statement, the GDOL expects "substantially higher claims" in the weeks ahead because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.