Why economists say full workforce might not return, and how local businesses are navigating pandemic

Business

Local businesses say where they stand on labor needs going forward

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Department of Labor says roughly 38.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March. Some economic experts are saying the prospects of everyone returning to work post-pandemic might not happen.

Some studies are saying up to 40% of those layoffs could be permanent. News 8 checked locally to see how businesses reacted to that number, and where they stand on fully reopening. 

“We’re planning on bringing every body back…but it really depends on how many people are coming into the restaurant,” Danielle Marou of the Nutcracker Family Restaurant in Webster said.

Marou says thinner crowds could be expected for some time. Due to new social distancing rules and people fearful of going out, places like Nutcracker are trying to prepare for that reality. 

“Here let’s say we had five girls on a shift and the people aren’t coming in, then it’s really not worth it to have five girls on the shift.”

In March, Fleet Feet, known for it’s one-on-one customer care when it comes to foot ware, had to lay off 90% of their staff. But they are now telling some employees they can return to work as things like curbside pick-up have been allowed.

“What are larger challenge is, is people refusing to come back,”Ellen Brenner-Boutillier, Owner of Fleet Fleet and Yellow Jacket Racing said.

In the age of COVID-19, Brenner says not all employees are fully ready.  “We have heard things that they’re just not comfortable,” she said.

Chef Peter Rosa with Nutcracker says he hopes business can be what it was pre-pandemic. He says it will get there, but it’s a long road.  

“My heart wants to tell me there will be business, but I think in reality it’s going to take awhile for our business to grow again.”.

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