The state is pushing for 70 percent vaccination rate saying that is what it will take to reach herd immunity from COVID-19. Even if it gets there, finding enough people to fill jobs may prove a real challenge.
“We are a traditional New York style Italian pizzeria,” said Kevin Novellino, owner of Brooklyn Boyz Pizzeria.
For 19 years Brooklyn Boyz has been serving meals on West Midland Street in Bay City. Although the way it does so has changed because of the pandemic.
“We went from a business that was predominantly dine in business to a delivery take out business,” Novellino said.
Novellino is doing whatever it takes to keep his business going. But it's a difficult task without enough workers.
“Before COVID-19 we were running with about 25 employees. 10 in the kitchen and 14 out front between hostesses’ waitresses and bartenders,” Novellino said.
Now the business has around ten employees, hoping to hire more.
“In the interview process I’ve spoke with people that have been in that situation that are not willing to come back right away. They say the money is already good just sitting at home,” Novellino said.
He adds, some people just don't feel safe returning to work and others remain concerned with the uncertainty of the pandemic
“Some of them don’t feel like it’s over they don’t want to have their income coming and going,” Novellino said.
The pizzeria is making adjustments by downsizing its menu and shortening its hours to avoid overworking its current employees. And even offering a monthly attendance bonus for new and current workers with a one hundred percent attendance rate as an incentive.
“This is my business we want to keep it going. We have to reward the people that make a difference,” Novellino said.