Things have gotten so bad in the two weeks since Gov. Roy Cooper’s shutdown order of sit-in restaurants and bars that the governor has had to hire 50 people to help process unemployment insurance claims for the state Division of Employment Security.

WRAL reports that this two-week toll is nearly twice what the division saw all last year:

More than 300,000 people have filed for unemployment in North Carolina since coronavirus-related layoffs began. …

The 300,000-plus claims have come in since March 16, a span of about two weeks. The number is approaching twice what the state Division of Employment Security saw in all of 2019, when claims averaged about 3,200 a week.

The state is used to processing 3,000 claims a week, but with the coronavirus-related shutdowns of many businesses, the Division of Employment Security is getting about 20,000 per day.

Lynn Minges, president and CEO of the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, estimated at a March 30 John Locke Foundation Shaftesbury Society event that around 75 percent of hotel and restaurant workers in North Carolina was now out of work.

At 550,000 workers, that would put the estimated number of hospitality industry workers thrown out of work at 412,500.

That’s as of Monday, March 30 — which is the day that Gov. Cooper’s subsequent stay-at-home order took effect, which shut down untold numbers of “nonessential” businesses that could not “meet Social Distancing Requirements.”

For more information, see: