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Area business owners face new hurdles with changing mask guidelines, labor shortages



AUGUSTA, Ga. – We’re following up with local businesses as they take another challenge. For months we’ve seen them struggle to hire a full workforce. Now there’s new hurdles in the mix as they juggle new mask guidelines, food shortages, and rising prices.

Business owners say they’re rolling with the punches and making adjustments. One way is by putting signs up in their windows to warn people about what they’re doing to follow CDC guidelines.

Many places I talked to say adapting is the key as they struggle to get both workers and customers through the door.

As people began to get their vaccines businesses looked to open their doors and lose the masks. But when we spoke with local businesses about their current situations.

“It’s tragic (laughs). It’s very unfortunate,” said Asian Brown.

As for what it’s like trying to find employees right now –

“Needle in a haystack. Yeah. Trying to find a needle in a haystack,” said Mary Waters.

Mary Waters is the general manager of New Moon Café in downtown Augusta.

Since the new CDC guidance came out saying masks aren’t needed indoors for people who are fully vaccinated they’ve given people a choice.

“We did have a sign like I said we took them down this week. We encourage whatever people are comfortable with. It’s not a requirement,” she said.

Businesses say they’re not worried about people who aren’t vaccinated not wearing masks nor about the liabilities. But as more people come in without masks they say finding employees is their biggest concern.

“We’re hiring in all positions right now and we’re just in the past week getting resumes and applications but it has been an uphill battle for sure,” she said.

Over at the Brunch House, they’re in the same situation.

“Just finding qualified people that want to come to work. Finding anybody that wants to come to work. That’s really been the main struggle,” said Asian Brown, Brunch House of Augusta.

The light at the end of the tunnel to get back to normal is still far away for many that have struggled.

“It was a growing process and it’s going to be the same thing coming out of the pandemic…it’s going to be a growing process,” said Brown.

We spoke with several other businesses along Broad Street that didn’t want to go on camera. We see now hiring signs in almost all of them. They say they’ll continue to do what they need to do to keep their businesses up and running.