LOUISVILLE, Ky. —

From restaurant workers to barbers and massage therapists, business owners and their employees tell us coronavirus is threatening their livelihoods, and they need support. 

“We’ve been hearing from hundreds of businesses and employees over the last few days," said Jacqueline Pitts, communications director with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

We spoke with Jacqueline Pitts with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce through FaceTime to abide by social distancing rules. She said she’s getting swamped with the same two questions: “How to get unemployment benefits for people who are losing their jobs due to this coronavirus pandemic and how to get a small business loan for the businesses that are being displaced during this time as well," Pitts said. 

RELATED: How to file for unemployment insurance, apply for jobs in Kentucky, Indiana

RELATED: How to support local businesses during coronavirus pandemic

"This is something that none of us have ever faced before and we’re looking for solutions."

Those who’ve lost their jobs due to coronavirus can file for benefits online at the Kentucky Career Center. They’re not providing in-person services to abide by social distancing protocol. As for small businesses who need a loan, Pitts said she hopes loans will be available within the coming weeks, following Governor Beshear’s application to the federal government. 

“A lot of things like bars, restaurants, small businesses that people have worked their entire lives to create have been displaced," she said. 

On Tuesday alone, the Kentucky Chamber said 9,000 people in the state filed for unemployment insurance. That’s compared to the weekly average of 2,000 seen in the state prior to the pandemic. 

“Find ways to support your local economy, it’s going to be critically important to help these businesses in our community," said Pitts.

Despite these challenging times, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce said the governor is taking the right steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

We will be continuing to investigate the impact of coronavirus on local businesses and their employees. For tips, please send us an email at focus@whas11.com

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