EDITOR'S NOTE: During the coronavirus outbreak, the Herald is profiling efforts being made by local businesses to aid customers and to stay viable during this historic disruption to commerce.

The UPS Store in Grand Forks is offering free computer time to workers who have lost their jobs and don’t have the necessary equipment at home to file online for benefits.

Nearly 20,000 unemployment insurance claims have been filed in the state since COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, was discovered in North Dakota. With the public library closed, access to a computer and the internet can be difficult, if not impossible for some members of the public. The UPS Store, at 1395 South Columbia Road, Suite A, decided to help by making its terminal available to those who need it.

“As a locally owned essential retailer, we are keeping our doors open to be a resource for people and our communities,” Steve Spicer, UPS Store franchisee, said via press release.

The shop has one computer, usually available for rent. That fee is now waived for anyone needing to apply for benefits because of COVID-19 related unemployment. The computer is available by making an appointment, or by stopping in and speaking to an associate to see if a time slot is available. Each slot is limited to 30 minutes.

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“It was an idea that I thought of as soon as the library closed," said Jennifer Walsh, UPS Store franchise development specialist.

The business is essential as it provides federal mail to those who rent boxes there -- mail that could include medication or other medical devices, or financial or legal documents. The shop also offers packing and shipping services.

Special attention is paid to cleaning commonly touched surfaces in the store, as well as adhering to a social distancing policies.

“For those who are now working from home, have children who are now learning from inside the home, and small business owners who are trying to continue to run their business and even medical personnel fighting the pandemic, we’re here to help our community,” wrote Spicer.

The UPS Store is open from 8-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10-5 p.m. on Saturday.

If you would like to see your business appear in Retail Reacts, contact Herald business reporter Adam Kurtz at akurtz@gfherald.com. Not all requests will lead to stories. The Herald will choose from among a wide swath of Greater Grand Forks businesses.