Lynchburg restaurants still struggle to find employees after restrictions were lifted


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Since many COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, businesses have been seeing more customers, but fewer employees. Small businesses have been doing their best to stay afloat.

For some, managing a business is tougher than usual. Some have been doing the work of employees on top of looking to hire. Managers in Lynchburg say that process has not been easy.

“I think that what is happening is that people see that they’re making more money on unemployment,” said Virginia Lewis, a server at Graziano’s Italian Restaurant. “So they decided ‘if we make more money on unemployment, we can just stay at home.”

Graziano’s gets plenty of applicants. But they aren’t serious.

According to Lewis, “We’ve had so many people on unemployment who say they’re returning to the workforce so they come in for a couple of days to work and then they just don’t ever show back up.”

When that happens, it leaves more work for their manager, Chelsea Easterbrook.

“You’re trying to find qualified people plus training them. So, as a manager, I don’t really wait tables but I ended up doing it a lot,” said Easterbrook. “You gotta do it to keep the place afloat.”

At Firehouse Subs, they usually have a staff of 14 or 15, but currently, they have nine.

“A lot of people don’t want to take the risk to come out to work,” said James Campbell, the manager. “So it makes longer hours for us.”

Campbell says that it’s great to see sales increase, but like most small businesses, they’re looking to fill any and all positions.

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