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Business owners weigh in on new unemployment benefit requirements

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 10:58 PM EDT
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IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Business owners continue struggling to get people to work in this post-pandemic world.

It’s why state leaders are making moves to get people off the unemployment rolls, and back onto a payroll.

Last year at this time, people were unable to work because of the pandemic.

Today, it’s a much different story with access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’re losing customers, we’re losing sales, because we can’t find people to work,” said Joe Unger, owner of Unger’s Shoe Store in Ironton.

The same feeling is shared by Rick Haynes, who owns the End Zone, and Cindy Barnes, who owns Peddler’s Home Cooking.

All three Ironton business owners are dealing with a shortage of employees.

The result: not enough staff, meaning longer wait times, customers leaving, and lost profits.

At Peddler’s Home Cooking, staff are pleading for patience from the public before customers even get in the door, asking them to be kind to those who came to work.

“Everybody tells me that if [people] weren’t getting the money, then they’d be right in here to try to work,” Haynes said.

On Monday, the governor’s office announced Ohioans who receive unemployment will be required to show proof they’re looking for a job on a weekly basis starting the week of May 24.

“I think it will help, but once again, if the intention is to go around and get applications, that’s going on now,” Unger said. “We’ve got people that sit through interviews and don’t come back or don’t show up for work after we offer them a job.”

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also spoke to WSAZ about the concerns many business owners currently have.

“We have an enforcement mechanism for this,” Husted told WSAZ. “If you offer someone a job and they refuse to take the job and show up to work, you can report them to the Department of Jobs and Family Services.”

Husted says there will soon be a way to report individuals who refuse to show up to work on the Ohio Means Jobs website.

Haynes hopes the announcement means he’ll see more people applying, but he says the folder where he keeps applications has been empty since the beginning of the pandemic.

“There’s one application in there,” Haynes said.

All three Ironton businesses are currently hiring for open positions.

If you’d like to apply to The End Zone or Peddler’s, you can pick up an application in person.

If you’d like to apply to Unger’s, you can email them your resume at ungersshoes@att.net or you can pick up an application inside the store.

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