Small businesses struggle to hire workers as restrictions ease

As restrictions continue to ease, small business owners say they're having trouble filling open positions.

News 12 Staff

May 1, 2021, 6:35 PM

Updated 1,084 days ago

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As infections decline and capacity increases, more local restaurants and stores are getting back to business – but many are finding a new challenge in trying to fill vacant positions.
Jackie Sharlup is the owner of Tula Kitchen, an eclectic vegan-friendly restaurant on Main Street in Bay Shore. She says she's short eight staff members going into their busy season.
“We can't have a business unless we have staff and we can't grow as a society unless people work,” she told News 12.
Michael McElwee owns three restaurants and bars in Bay Shore. He is running into a similar problem with staffing.
“I've never seen this much of a shortage in hospitality,” he said.
Business owners say they can't find staff because most people found other jobs, some are hesitant to come back to work and others are still collecting unemployment.
Downtown businesses have already endured so much through the pandemic. Some have closed their doors, some have stayed opened and are riding the wave, while others have created new businesses. Downtown business experts say a large part of their success is the support of the local community.
“We surveyed 35 downtowns across Long Island and 174 businesses went vacant – but the good news is 106 new businesses opened,” said Eric Alexander, of the Long Island Main Street Alliance.
Experts say those numbers tell them that small businesses are resilient and they're forecasting things will bounce back this summer as vaccinations increase and federal stimulus money kicks in.
Businesses in Bay Shore are holding an event on May 11 called "Bay Shore Hiring Day" where people can stop in at businesses and apply for a job.


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