In Perry County, Ky., the native authorities is chopping again on rubbish pickup. Magoffin County is shedding public security staff. And in Floyd County, the place meals pantries are reporting that demand has tripled over the previous month, officers are attempting to determine keep away from cuts to a program distributing meals to households.

“Numerous these children, that is the one meal they get in a day,” mentioned Robert Williams, Floyd County’s judge-executive, the chief elected official. “I can’t ask a child to take a seat on a pc all day with nothing to eat.”

In instances and deaths, Kentucky hasn’t been hit as laborious by the coronavirus as another states. Like a lot of the nation, it has skilled a surge this fall, however one much less extreme than in neighboring Tennessee. Kentucky’s financial system is reeling all the identical, notably in rural areas already struggling.

“We have been in dire want of assist economically to begin with, earlier than Covid,” mentioned Matthew C. Wireman, the judge-executive of Magoffin County, an Appalachian county the place the unemployment fee was 16.7 % in October, one of many highest within the nation.

The reduction package deal handed by Congress this month and signed by President Trump on Sunday ought to present assist. The $600 funds to people, criticized by the president and lots of progressives as too small, would go a great distance the place the everyday family earns lower than $40,000 a 12 months. So would the $300 weekly complement to unemployment advantages. And the invoice contains provisions meant to assist rural areas, together with subsidies for broadband infrastructure and assist for small farmers.

However the assist would come over the objection of one in every of Kentucky’s Republican senators, Rand Paul, who was one in every of simply six to vote in opposition to the package deal within the Senate, on the grounds that it amounted to handing out “free money.” And it will be smaller and later than it’d in any other case have been due to the work of the state’s different senator, Mitch McConnell, who as majority chief fought to restrict the package deal.

Mr. McConnell specifically labored to exclude broad-based assist to state and native governments — assist that many native officers in his state say they desperately want.

A spokesman for Mr. McConnell, nonetheless, mentioned the lawmaker had not been a hindrance and had helped lead the multitrillion-dollar federal response to the pandemic. Partly due to that spending, the state’s finances and its financial system have rebounded extra strongly than most forecasters anticipated final spring.

“The compromise invoice shouldn’t be excellent, however it can do an infinite quantity of excellent for struggling Kentuckians and People throughout the nation who need assistance now,” Mr. McConnell mentioned in an announcement Sunday night.

In an e-mail, Mr. Paul blamed Kentucky’s financial issues on orders issued by the state’s governor, Andy Beshear, a Democrat.

“One of the simplest ways for Kentucky to get well is to repeal Governor Beshear’s lockdown edicts which have induced huge unemployment,” the senator mentioned. “I assist extending unemployment and paying for it by lowering overseas assist and nation-building expenditures in Afghanistan.”

Unemployment charges in some rural counties are within the double digits. Charges of starvation and poverty, excessive earlier than the disaster, have soared. Kentucky has misplaced greater than 20,000 state and native authorities jobs since February, and with budgets crippled by falling tax receipts, officers should select between elevating taxes and chopping companies.

“It’s irritating that our personal senator received’t assist native governments,” Mr. Wireman, a Democrat, mentioned. “These are extraordinary instances, and we have to be taking extraordinary measures on the nationwide degree from our federal authorities to assist people out.”

Like many rural areas throughout the nation, Magoffin County relies upon closely on the general public sector. State and native authorities jobs account for almost a 3rd of all employment within the county, versus an eighth of all jobs nationally. Elliott County, two counties to the north, is much more reliant: Practically two-thirds of all jobs are authorities jobs, together with greater than 200 at a state jail.

“In lots of rural communities, state and native authorities is the key employer,” mentioned Janet Harrah, govt director of outreach at Northern Kentucky College’s enterprise faculty.

State and native governments additionally provide “good jobs” — secure, comparatively effectively paid, with advantages — the place the factories and coal mines that after served that position have usually shut down. Chopping extra jobs, Ms. Harrah mentioned, will sluggish the restoration.

Kentucky’s financial system has pockets of power. Statewide, the unemployment fee was 5.6 % in November, higher than the nationwide fee of 6.7 %. The state’s central location has helped it grow to be a logistics hub for UPS, DHL and Amazon, which have thrived through the pandemic growth in on-line purchasing. Toyota and Ford have factories in Kentucky; they shut down early within the pandemic however have roared again to life to satisfy rising demand.

As within the nation as an entire, nonetheless, the pandemic has additional widened divides between wealthy and poor areas.

Louisville, the state’s largest metropolis and financial engine, has suffered from the lack of tourism and leisure, however industries much less affected by the pandemic, like well being care {and professional} companies, have helped maintain its financial system. That isn’t true in lots of rural areas, the place there could also be solely a handful of main employers.

“In city areas, if folks begin to spend cash once more, the very fact of the matter is there shall be different firms that may come up to take the place of people who have gone underneath,” Ms. Harrah mentioned. In rural areas, “as soon as these jobs are misplaced, will probably be very tough to switch them.”

Daryl Royse is making an attempt to carry on. He’s a co-owner of Heritage Kitchen, a comfort-food restaurant on Principal Avenue in Whitesburg, a small metropolis close to the Virginia border.

Mr. Royse’s enterprise survived the primary wave of the pandemic with a mortgage from the federal Paycheck Safety Program and small grants from native teams. However that assist is gone, and the pandemic is hurting his enterprise once more.

Final month, Governor Beshear shut down indoor eating within the state in response to the surge in virus instances. He lifted the order this month, however Mr. Royse’s enterprise hasn’t bounced again. He hasn’t had greater than three tables crammed without delay since reopening. With out federal assist, he mentioned, making it by the winter could also be a battle.

“There’s kind of a disconnect between those who go to Washington and the folks they symbolize in very small communities, particularly rural areas,” Mr. Royse mentioned. “We actually want the assistance.”

Communities like Whitesburg have been struggling lengthy earlier than the pandemic. The coal mines that powered jap Kentucky’s financial system have been in decline for many years, and regardless of federal and regional revitalization efforts, the realm suffers from excessive charges of power well being situations, low training ranges and widespread poverty.

The financial growth that adopted the Nice Recession didn’t carry many poor rural communities, and the pandemic has undone a lot of the progress that was made.

“What Covid did was it pushed them additional behind,” mentioned Olugbenga Ajilore, an economist for the Heart for American Progress who has studied the pandemic’s impression on rural America. Many components that contributed to the area’s pre-pandemic struggles — insufficient digital infrastructure, an absence of well being care entry — made the realm notably susceptible, he mentioned.

Furthermore, excessive charges of poverty imply that many households went into the pandemic with few assets to climate the storm. And plenty of of them have already suffered lasting monetary harm through the monthslong delay for assist, mentioned Jason Bailey, govt director of the Kentucky Heart for Financial Coverage, a liberal group.

“It’s not completely different from elsewhere, besides that we have been simply going into this with so many individuals who have been on the sting anyway, with no financial savings, no buffer,” he mentioned.

The pandemic has reduce in half the revenue of Alicia Hardwick, a hair stylist close to Pikeville, an hour north of Whitesburg. She certified for partial unemployment advantages, about $90 each two weeks, however the funds stopped in early October, and she or he hasn’t been capable of contact anybody from the state’s unemployment workplace to resolve the problem.

Ms. Hardwick tried to make masks to earn cash on the aspect, but it surely by no means amounted to a lot. Her husband has, with extra success, made some advertising and marketing movies on a contract foundation for somewhat additional money. Nevertheless it hasn’t been sufficient — simply because the couple really feel they’re getting caught up, one other invoice comes due, and the cycle continues.

“Then we’re flat broke once more, and acquired to go to work and earn more money to provide it away,” Ms. Hardwick mentioned. “It’s the little folks which are struggling proper now, and the wealthy are getting richer.”

She mentioned she had been skeptical of the federal authorities even earlier than the pandemic. This 12 months’s occasions have solidified that sentiment, she mentioned, proving to her that individuals in Washington are incapable or unwilling to assist these they symbolize.

“I didn’t belief the federal government that a lot earlier than as a result of we all know they hold issues from us, however now it’s virtually like the federal government is evil,” Ms. Hardwick mentioned. “It’s actually pushed it house that I used to be proper to not absolutely belief them — by no means, by no means, by no means.”

Patricia Cohen contributed reporting.