WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — After COVID shutdowns and worker shortages, businesses are finally getting back to a new normal.
Eyewitness News spoke to small business owners who are glad to finally have enough employees again.
If you’re downtown in Williamsport, you’ll find a lot Help Wanted signs, but finding workers has been a challenge.
“I’ve been in this industry for about 20 years and I’ve never had so many people just not show for interviews or you know you really just have one candidate,” The Sawhorse Cafe owner Jesse Darrow said.
The COVID relief bill’s raise in unemployment benefits ended last month and people are slowly getting back to work.
“We’ve seen a little bit of an increase. Like I said we’re currently hiring and we’ve seen a much better number of resumes,” Darrow said.
Most industries have had the same struggle. One business owner, who opened just as the pandemic began, says they haven’t had problems with worker shortages.
“I built this from nothing, so I can work by myself and do everything. But sometimes it happens and everyone needs a day off here and there,” Leo’s Pizzeria owner Mark Mangiardi said.
Mangiardi has five employees at his business. He says keeping good workers is simple, just pay them well and treat them like family.
“This is a permanent spot. We treat everybody like family here. My kids come in here and they all say hi to Leo, Athena and Italia and I couldn’t ask for a better staff,” Mangiardi said.
Both owners say COVID has changed the restaurant industry, but they’re fortunate to be getting back to a new normal.
“We definitely have a steady stream of local regulars and then pretty good traveling clientele as well,” Darrow said.
“Just being too busy. “Honestly it just gets a little too crazy here sometimes but we manage to keep it together,” Mangiardi said.