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Michigan businesses prepare for 100% capacity as worker shortage continues

Posted at 8:16 AM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 08:16:46-04

(WXYZ) — The full reopening of Michigan on Tuesday is a welcome change for many metro Detroit businesses. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted all capacity and mask restrictions 10 days ahead of schedule.

With the change comes challenges for businesses, like worker shortages, but owners are glad to be taking the next step.

Related: Michigan officially lifts all restrictions for masks, gatherings & capacity on Tuesday

"We're glad to see any type of opening, but we feel that it is too little, too late," Sam Backos, the owner of Ernie's Restaurant, Bar and Banquet Center, said. "Irreparable damage has been done to our industry."

"Right now, we just can't go wide open because of enough staff, so we need about 10 to 20 employees to open back up. in the kitchen is where we need most of the help. We already closed Monday and Tuesday because they worked so many hours from Wednesday to Sunday. It's the same 6, 7 guys in the kitchen every day," Mike Le Favre, the owner of Mike's on the Water, added.

Related: These are all the Michigan COVID-19 orders that are ending on June 22

That's a taste of what places like restaurants and bars are experiencing.

Beginning Tuesday, they can go back to 100% capacity for the first time in more than a year.

Related: Some COVID-19 orders will remain in effect in Michigan despite plan to lift all restrictions June 22

But, the number of people unemployed in Michigan is up 50,000 since February of 2020.

You're bound to see many "help wanted" signs as the statewide jobless rate in May went to 5%. Some staff never stopped.

"I have actually worked every day in June. Ihave not had a day off. I don't have a lot going on. I'm a single guy, bachelor, no kid, Idon't mind helping out good people," Cory Renusch, a bartender, said.