Big reopening announcements and rehiring efforts top the news in this week’s EBI Screening News Update.
Just as our trees and flowers are waking up from the long winter, so are communities across the country. There have been several big post-COVID announcements recently, and they all point to life getting back to normal.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced New York City will fully reopen on July 1st. That means stores, restaurants, offices, and even theaters can operate at full capacity. Governor Cuomo says he doesn’t even want to wait that long, and since more than a third of the city’s adult population is already fully vaccinated, he would like to see the hustle and bustle back even sooner.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued a new executive order to ease the statewide mask mandate. As of last Friday, you no longer need to wear a mask while outdoors – as long as you can still stay 6 feet away from anyone you don’t live with. Next week, amusement parks and water parks will be allowed to open at 50% capacity, on May 29th, gathering limits will go up significantly, and by August, the governor hopes all other businesses will be allowed to reopen without capacity restrictions.
Even Disneyland is back. The castle lights are on and the gates are open for the first time in 412 days. This was the longest closure for the park in its 65-year history. Masks are required for anyone over the age of two, regardless of your vaccination status, and the park will only be able to operate at 25% capacity for now.
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill that will require all hospitality companies in the state – from Disneyland to the airport – to try to rehire anyone they laid off during COVID-19 before bringing in anyone new.
Under Senate Bill 93, if an employer has a job opening, they must look at the list of people who got laid off from similar positions because of the pandemic and offer them the position. If more than one laid-off worker qualifies, the job must be offered to the one with the longest tenure before the shut-down.
The California plan, as well as all the other reopening efforts, all depend on one thing – people wanting to come back to work. Employers across the country say they are having a lot of trouble hiring enough staff to get the job done.
From restaurants to trucking companies, employers say they are struggling to even get applicants through the door. With the unemployment rate hovering around 6%, employers are stunned at the lack of candidates, and many are pointing the finger at the federal government.
Those laid off because of the pandemic are not only getting state unemployment benefits that can range between $300 to over $800, depending on where you live, but they are also getting an additional $300 on top of that with the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation funds. For a huge number of people, going back to work will be a significant pay cut. In addition to those who are staying away for money reasons, there are still millions of workers who must stay home to care for children who have not returned to in-person school.
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.