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Local businesses continue to struggle hiring after state drops COVID-19 restrictions

It’s been one week since the state's pandemic reopening but some local businesses say some things are still not back to "normal."

Posted: Jun 22, 2021 6:42 PM

CHICO, Calif. – It’s been one week since the state's pandemic reopening but some local businesses say some things are still not back to "normal."

Some business owners said they are still not able to operate at pre-pandemic capacity.

Boyd Atkin, the owner of The Foodie Cafe, said he'd like to extend his hours to be what they were before the pandemic but isn't able to right now because he is short-staffed.

The restaurant is finally back open at full-capacity but now he's facing a new challenge.

“We’re short a couple people in the kitchen and a couple of people serving," said Atkin. "Sometimes it takes longer for a server to take an order or longer to get the food out.”

He is looking to add to his restaurant and catering staff but said it's been difficult.

“You hardly get any people applying for jobs. It’s real slim pickins and sometimes we don't get any,” he added.

And Atkins is not the only one facing this problem.

Employees at Pita Pit in downtown Chico said they have about seven workers total but now that everything is back open at 100% they could use about three to four more people to help them out.

“One of the biggest impacts of not having enough staff is that is causes stress for workers here,” said employee, AJ Alvarez.

Employees said some days they have had to close a little earlier because they are short staffed.

“When it gets super busy in the afternoon and I don’t have enough staff to help me out, sometimes we are out of things and customers get frustrated,” said Nusheen Sheikhabadi.

Atkin said he appreciates that people have been understanding during this time.

“We're grateful and glad to be here and glad to be reopen,” added Atkin.

Next month the state will require those on unemployment to prove that they are actively looking for a job in order to keep getting their benefits. They are hoping this will help bring in more people applying.

California's EDD announced that those receiving unemployment benefits will need to start looking for work by July 11 to maintain their eligibility.

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The weather will be pulling a 180 as we head into the evening hours and kick off our work week. A north wind will be taking hold, bringing gusty conditions and increased fire danger to the valley, foothills, and the Sierra Mountains. Gusts between 25-35mph are possible from late this evening through Monday night for the valley while the foothills and the Sierra will continue to see the windy conditions through Tuesday morning. This has prompted a Red Flag Warning for the Valley 11pm tonight through 8pm Monday while the Sierra and Foothills will last through Tuesday morning.
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