Unemployment presents new challenges for restaurants bringing back staff

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  • May 4, 2020
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As restaurant owners are starting to reopen outdoor dining, some are coming across new challenges when it comes to employees. More specifically, when it comes to safety and pay. “We have masks being made right now in Spartanburg for our staff,” said Mike Shuler, owner of Smoke on the Water in downtown Greenville. “Of course, gloves (and) we’re putting plexiglass up around where the host stand will be.” Shuler said he hopes to have outdoor dining options available for the end of the week for his team at Smoke on the Water. Eggs Up Grill in Powdersville was back to using its outdoor patio space Monday.Debi Brannon, the owner, said she held a meeting with her employees over the weekend so they could air any concerns about coming in and waiting tables. “We addressed several concerns with people that might’ve had elderly parents at home or parents that might’ve had compromised immune systems,” she said. Brannon said she’s willing to make accommodations for employees. She said most of them deciced to come back to work, but not everyone. “We lost a few and so now trying to replace those that weren’t able to come back. We’ve had significant challenges because people are benefiting quite a bit from the unemployment situation as it is right now,” she said. It’s a situation that’s created challenges for restaurants across the state. The average unemployment payment in South Carolina is about $236 each week. Through July, as part of COVID-19 relief, the federal government has implemented an additional $600 per person each week. That’s more than what some employees make on the job normally. James Alford, general manager at Foxcroft Wine Co. in Greenville, said he’ll do his best to work with employees. Alford said he’s hoping to open outdoor limited dining by the weekend, using full-time salaried staff to work. “We’re going to honor our employee’s needs first before we think about what will just make things the most streamlined for us as a business operation,” he said. “We are completely sensitive to the fact that they have bills and obligations and fixed costs that they have to meet.”According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, employees should be returning to work if asked by their employer and if able. If they do, they are required to report any wages when they certify each week which could affect eligibility for unemployment. For more information, click here.

As restaurant owners are starting to reopen outdoor dining, some are coming across new challenges when it comes to employees.

More specifically, when it comes to safety and pay.

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“We have masks being made right now in Spartanburg for our staff,” said Mike Shuler, owner of Smoke on the Water in downtown Greenville. “Of course, gloves (and) we’re putting plexiglass up around where the host stand will be.”

Shuler said he hopes to have outdoor dining options available for the end of the week for his team at Smoke on the Water.

Eggs Up Grill in Powdersville was back to using its outdoor patio space Monday.

Debi Brannon, the owner, said she held a meeting with her employees over the weekend so they could air any concerns about coming in and waiting tables.

“We addressed several concerns with people that might’ve had elderly parents at home or parents that might’ve had compromised immune systems,” she said.

Brannon said she’s willing to make accommodations for employees. She said most of them deciced to come back to work, but not everyone.

“We lost a few and so now trying to replace those that weren’t able to come back. We’ve had significant challenges because people are benefiting quite a bit from the unemployment situation as it is right now,” she said.

It’s a situation that’s created challenges for restaurants across the state. The average unemployment payment in South Carolina is about $236 each week.

Through July, as part of COVID-19 relief, the federal government has implemented an additional $600 per person each week.

That’s more than what some employees make on the job normally.

James Alford, general manager at Foxcroft Wine Co. in Greenville, said he’ll do his best to work with employees.

Alford said he’s hoping to open outdoor limited dining by the weekend, using full-time salaried staff to work.

“We’re going to honor our employee’s needs first before we think about what will just make things the most streamlined for us as a business operation,” he said. “We are completely sensitive to the fact that they have bills and obligations and fixed costs that they have to meet.”

According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, employees should be returning to work if asked by their employer and if able.

If they do, they are required to report any wages when they certify each week which could affect eligibility for unemployment.

For more information, click here.


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