Rockford restaurants having hard time finding people willing to work

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — With more people being able to eat indoors, local restaurants have a short window of time to hire back a full staff.

Bars and eateries around the Stateline are hiring in full force, and several small business owners say it has been a struggle to find workers.

The shortage has led to longer waits at restaurants as they try to keep up with demand.

“We’ve been marketing, trying to get people to come in here,” said Charlie Schwinler, co-owner of Lino’s, at 5611 E State St. “You know, many many many applications. Not a whole lot of people that are actually really wanting to come in and do the work and to do it.”

Schwinler and other business owners say an extra bump in the state’s unemployment benefits and stimulus checks are the reason people are not returning to work.

Over 6,000 jobs are posted on Indeed.com for Rockford alone.

Schweinler says he’s seen a worker shortage since Lino’s reopened.

“It’s a big storm of a lot of different things all coming together at one particular time and, unfortunately, it’s just at a bad time for all of us that are trying to employ people within our community,” he said.

Patrick Alberto, owner of Octane, 124 N Main St, says he’s been struggling to hire additional employees for his new food truck.

“We have started looking for a more unorthodox kind of way of hiring people. At this point, I’m willing to hire somebody with no experience [who can be] easily trained,” Alberto said.

With Illinois entering the “Bridge Phase” next week, and potentially fully reopening on July 11th, Alberto says he is concerned about what this means for the future.

“At this point, since we don’t have the staff members to support the surge that will happen, we’re just going to have to make sure that we put out the best product, and work with the best people we have currently on hand,” he said.

Retail stores have also said they’re having problems attracting employees, but said recently they’re starting to see the workforce return.

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