Some restaurants report recruitment issues as coronavirus restrictions removed

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Columbia will likely be without coronavirus health orders soon, theoretically bringing the restaurant industry back to something similar to what it was before the pandemic.

However, some restaurateurs and industry advocates say companies are struggling to find workers.

Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said on Monday that the city’s coronavirus health ordinance expires on May 12 and would not be replaced unless current positive trends change.

The order requires people to wear masks where social distancing is not possible and in restaurants when they are not seated. The order also requires social distancing within companies.

With these restrictions and readily available vaccines, business is expected to increase for downtown restaurants.

Tera Eckerle, head of cashiers, said the restaurant’s biggest problem was not just limiting yourself to business, but trying to find staff.

Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick said that with graduation events, start-up restaurants have already seen an increase in traffic and have struggled with manpower and staff. The University of Missouri recently held ceremonies for 2020 graduates who did not have events last year. Launch events for 2021 graduates are scheduled for this weekend.

McCormick said there were more jobs than people before the pandemic. COVID-19 has only highlighted the problem.

On the Rocks owner Matt McGee said he had signed a hiring contract for a few months, but saw very few applications. He said they also asked many people to schedule interviews and not show them. “It seems people aren’t looking for part-time jobs,” McGee said.

“The positive side of unemployment is that it has really helped a lot of people get through the pandemic, but the challenge behind that now is to get that workforce back into the workforce,” McCormick said. .

The Columbia region had an unemployment rate of 3% in March. That rate was 2.6% in March 2020. More than 16,000 workers in Boone County have claimed unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

McCormick said unemployment benefits in the event of a pandemic would start to decline, people would start looking for jobs. According to him, people have also moved on to other jobs, so it is important for companies to recruit well.

“There’s not much incentive to go back to a part-time job that pays less than what you earn on unemployment. As long as they maintain those benefits, that can be a problem,” McGee said.

Federal aid has just opened for restaurants in difficulty because of the pandemic.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide restaurants with funding equal to their loss of revenue from the pandemic of up to $ 10 million per business and no more than $ 5 million per physical location.

The program opened on Monday. Relief does not have to be repaid provided funds are directed to qualifying uses by March 11, 2023.

Check back for more on this developing story and watch ABC 17 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.



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