Tuesday will mark three weeks since Manitoba lifted all of its COVID-19 restrictions.
The service industry is once again dealing with sick employees. Businesses have already faced dozens of challenges throughout the pandemic.
Coffee is still brewing at Jordan Cayer’s coffee shop, Never Better Coffee, even though he’s not able to be behind the counter.
“Everyone I’ve talked to in this industry has dealt with this one way or another,” Cayer told Global News.
He contracted COVID-19 last week and is anxiously waiting to test negative and get back to being barista.
“If I’m still testing positive further into this week, I’m a little nervous because I don’t have anyone to cover for me,” he says.
“There’s likely one or two days where I’m not going to be able to open.”
He opened the brick-and-mortar store to his business in the spring of 2020 and it’s been a rollercoaster of two years since.
“I have yet to see anything quite like this in the pandemic,” Cayer said.
It’s a staffing issue many employees in the service industry are facing right now.
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“We’re hearing anecdotally in terms of cases over the last little (which) have spiked since some of the protective measures have come off,” says Chuck Davidson, president and CEO of Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.
It’s a common stress for many business owners. Winnipeg temporary staffing agency, Staff Max, has been busy with extra job opportunities and not enough workers.
“There’s a very good correlation of the requirements in clients related to COVID,” says vice-president of Staff Max Jason Gill. “We’ve never been busier.”
He says it’s more entry-level positions that are needing to be filled.
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“It’s in the warehouse, it’s in the office admin side, where somebody needs to answer the phone or somebody needs to screw in that bolt on a manufacturing line,” Gill said.
“Even if they don’t have COVID, people are encouraged to stay home when they have a little bit of the sniffles, so companies are really having a hard time and agencies like us have never been busier.”
While the staffing challenges are difficult, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce says these precautionary steps will only create more consumer confidence to keep customers coming back.