Hudson Valley businesses struggling with staffing and supply shortages
Assemblyman Colin Schmitt toured local businesses in Orange County Friday to learn more about their struggles during the pandemic.
Even if business is picking up, other issues remain -- like finding employees.
"It's been very hard to find staff. We've had an ad out for a long time looking for servers," said David Wenger, owner of the Empire Diner in Monroe.
Assemblyman Schmitt says it's due to the Department of Labor's expanded unemployment program.
"A lot of the employment issues stem from this pandemic expanded unemployment. There are many, many jobs available, but not enough people in the job market to fill that demand," he said.
"I went out and spent almost $10,000 buying nice new chairs, new rails to put outside to keep the area safe. And I haven't even been able to put it out there once because we don't have the staff to do it," Wenger said.
There are also food shortages.
The struggles extend beyond the restaurant industry.
Jennifer Carillo, owner of Harriman Army & Navy, is responsible for outfitting first responders. 85% of her inventory comes from overseas.
"There is a lack of shipping containers, so even if they have the goods, they can't get it to us. It's a global economy, so whatever happens on the other side of the ocean happens to us," she said.
Business owners said that customers are ordering more take out, buying more clothing and tipping more. They say the customer support keeps them going.