Fort Myers Beach businesses want to fill job openings

Millions of Americans are losing their unemployment benefits, as two pandemic unemployment programs come to an end. One gave aid to self-employed and gig workers, and the other helped those who have been unemployed more than six months.

We spoke to business owners on Fort Myers Beach that hope people to get back to work, as Monday marked the end to the two unemployment programs.

For many businesses on the beach, staffing has been an issue throughout the pandemic. They want to be able to take down their help wanted signs.

“I started working here at South Seas Trader last January of 20, and that help wanted sign was up then,” Melanie Ryan said.

The pandemic has posed many problems for businesses, especially when it comes to hiring.

People have been applying for jobs but won’t show up for interviews.

“We can set up interviews all day long, and we will get five percent that show up,” said Melissa Schneider, the marketing director of Lani Kai. “And that’s been the ongoing thing during this pandemic. We’ve never dealt with that before.”

With two pandemic unemployment programs ending, Schneider hopes this will bring more applicants and more help.

That would help alleviate a lot of the burdens on our longtime staff that have been working so much harder than usual.

The timing of the end to these two unemployment programs comes at a crucial time for businesses on Fort Myers Beach, as season is right around the corner.

Ryan says it’s time for people to get back to work.

“This is not a country that was founded on sitting on your butt waiting for handouts from the government,” Ryan said. “That’s not how this country is supposed to work.”

Reporter:Zach Oliveri
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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