WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s been more than 2 years since the COVID lockdown, and small businesses are still struggling to find enough workers.

The worker shortage is still impacting how businesses are operating. Two local owners had to make some changes to account for the lack of staff.

During the pandemic, restaurants had to shift gears to survive.

Sarah Kudlack, owner, of Nomad Distilling Co believe it or not was COVID that brought about the restaurant element to our business.

Sarah Kudlack, owner of nomad distilling company said they’ve struggled to hire enough workers since 2020.

“We have people constantly applying for positions and then we’ll completely actively engage with us and then ghost us.”

Because of this, they decided to change their interviewing process altogether.

“Interested in a position, they come in and they work. Come in, and do a 4-hour follow shift. Come in and shadow, ask questions,” explained Kudlack.

Those who show up are paid. At moon and raven public house they’ve had similar issues with getting new hires to stay.

“It’s frustrating you know? You go through the time to interview and think you have a good candidate, and onboard and start training and then they say you know what never mind, I changed my mind,” stated Erin Rousch, owner of Moon & Raven Public House.

When COVID hit they cut back their hours and haven’t been able to go back since.

“We get questions about when are you going to expand your hours? When are you going to be open for lunch and all this? We don’t have enough help to do that without exploiting the help that we do have and we’re not willing to do that. They also include 20% gratuity in their billing a model that helps with inflation and ensures their staff is paid higher wages,” explained Rousch.

Rousch continued, “there’s definitely a need to make sure that we’re taking care of the team that we do have because of the trickle-down effect when anybody else leaves.”

The biggest question we’re left with is why do their people keep turning down the work? There’s no simple answer and both businesses are still trying to understand what else they can do to solve this problem.