WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) – As California plans to reopen the economy on June 15 by removing nearly all health restrictions related to COVID-19, businesses that have survived the pandemic face a new challenge: shortage labor.
Many companies have complained that they do not have enough staff at the moment to handle the limited capacity. Once everything reopens in about three weeks, many business owners have said they will be in big trouble.
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“It’s really hard to find people. It feels like a lot of people don’t want to work, ”said Arash Ghasemi, chef and owner of Main Street Kitchen and Bar.
Ghasemi said he needed to hire at least eight more people to handle the current rush of customers.
“We’re looking for a manager, a bartender, a bar manager, a busser, a waiter, a cook, everything,” Ghasemi said.
He is worried about the reopening next month because that means he will have even more customers. A good problem that he must solve soon.
“If we are understaffed, we just have to close a section or two,” Ghasemi said.
Service sector companies across the country are facing staff shortages, especially in hotels and restaurants. Some restaurants in downtown Walnut Creek said they had to turn away customers because they didn’t have enough servers.
“Everything, at the back of the house, in front of the house, the food runners, the hosts, anything,” said Aimee Bobet, manager of 1515 Restaurant Lounge.
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At XYZ Matrix, a tobacco and skate shop, the manager said only two people applied in the last month since posting a hiring sign.
“Few candidates apply for a job, which makes it difficult to pick and choose,” said Danny Valdez of XYZ Matrix.
There were rental signs all over the East Bay. Some companies even offered a signing bonus. High school student Isabela De La Cruz has just been hired at Main Street Kitchen and Bar with no experience.
“It’s amazing how easy it is to find a job and they really take their time to make sure you know how everything works here. So that’s great, ”said De La Cruz.
Employers blamed federal unemployment benefits, saying some people made more money at home.
“It has to do with that free check that you get every two weeks,” Ghasemi said.
“Maybe when unemployment ends, then we’ll bring everyone back,” Bobet said.
But some union activists have argued that if people do better with unemployment, it means they were initially underpaid. But business owners said they were offering good salaries for vacant executive positions.
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Many companies have stated that anyone with a good attitude, eager to learn, and eager to work will be hired locally, with no experience required.