It cost Michael Sinatra a hundred dollars every time he brought his dog Jake to be groomed, but once he was laid off from his hotel job, that was a bill he could no longer afford.
“Me with a scissor and buzzer tried at it, a puddle with his curly knot hair — wasn’t easy,” he explained.
Sinatra was as a concierge at the Park Hyatt in Midtown for five years until he was furloughed when the pandemic erupted.
He has been on unemployment ever since, drawing down his savings to make ends meet.
Having to cancel Jake’s grooming appointments is the least of his problems.
“There are so many times when I am awake at 2, 3 A.M. and just not being able to sleep and I am sure that is caused by the anxiety, the depression, uncertainty,” Sinatra said.
But some help is on the way: the $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan Democrats are pushing through Congress.
Sinatra has been following the debate in Washington.
“Politicians who are living comfortably argue over what we should get, people who are trying to pay their grocery bills. The delay just seems kind of cruel,” Sinatra said.
Under the plan, Sinatra would receive a $1,400 stimulus check, and the $300 in supplemental federal unemployment benefits he receives each week would be available through September, instead of running out on Sunday.
For Sinatra, figuring out how to pay bills even with the extra boost is still difficult.
“Like even on my normal salary, now getting a fraction of that with unemployment, it is just cutting it close of what I can afford with my rent, groceries, vet bills and things of that sort,” he said.
Sinatra says he would set aside part of the $1,400 check to pay health insurance, which ran out for him in January.
The rest would be for living expenses.
He hopes this is last time he’ll have to depend on the government for help during the crisis.
“Its not like a handout, it is just this is pandemic and we need some support until we can get working again.“