Restaurant sign blaming ‘government aid’ for staff shortage sparks controversy
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – The owner of a popular Jacksonville pizza chain said his company headquarters did not approve or believe a message on the door of one of his Georgia franchises, criticizing people who perceive unemployment for not working.
The sign, posted on Twitter early Friday morning, read: “Unfortunately, due to government donations, no one wants to work. As a result, we are understaffed. Please be patient with the staff who have chosen to come to work today and remember to tip your server. They have chosen to come forward to serve you.
Social media users criticized the panel and was quick to point out that the various V Pizza restaurants had also received more than $ 2 million in P3 loans from the federal government. The owner of V Pizza said he was able to rehire workers made redundant earlier in the pandemic after receiving help.
Franchise owner Paul Scott, who opened his first storefront in San Marco, said the post did not reflect his feelings about the ongoing struggles to find workers as businesses began to reopen.
He told News4Jax that the sign was posted by the owner of a franchise in Georgia. Scott said he asked the franchise to remove the panel after learning about it on social media.
“This sign and the wording that goes with it, there is so much wrong with it,” Scott said. “But, the only truth of the sign is that everyone has a hard time hiring because the reality is we can pay our staff, you know, usually one of our staff makes $ 14 to $ 15. the hour, if a person stays at home and they have kids that they have to put in daycare and they can make almost as much money staying home and looking after their children as they do daycare. it’s up to a person to make an intelligent decision for their family. ”
“Yes, we are understaffed, there is no doubt about it, but we are not that seriously understaffed. Our staff, the workforce arrives with a great attitude every day. As the owner, we try to support them in any way we can, ”he continued.
The sentiment on the poster resembles the initiative by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. This week, Florida DEO announced as part of an initiative to get Floridians to “return to work” that the state will no longer participate in the federal pandemic unemployment compensation program, effective June 26.
The program added $ 300 per week to people receiving unemployment assistance from the state of Florida during the pandemic.
“Now we are moving from a kind of relief in the midst of a crisis to more traditional re-employment prospects,” DeSantis said at a press conference in May.
Advocates, like Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani, spoke on Thursday to urge the governor to continue allowing Floridians to receive the additional $ 300 per week.
“A lot of the people we have right now who are still unemployed and very scared of losing that $ 300 federal benefit, that includes mothers, that includes our seniors, our veterans, the people who can’t work a typical job. 9 to 5 and just the lack of compassion and understanding, ”said Rep. Eskamani.
Jim Ricer, a former business owner in Boca Raton, says the economic fallout from the pandemic has forced him to shut down his business. He said federal aid was his only way to make money.
“I worked for myself for 19 years because of my physical problems. It gave me the opportunity to stop and take a break if I needed to. On March 27, I completely lost my business, ”said Ricer. “After 19 years of working for myself in the state of Florida, here in Boca Raton, we are not entitled to unemployment. Because I was an S corporation, I did not receive any money from the state. I only live on government money. Last year I won $ 16,000.
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