Business Owners can’t find people that want to be hired

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HIXSON, Tenn (WDEF) – Tennessee restaurants were one of the first places allowed to open their doors back up to the public

“At the beginning with people staying home, it slowed down a good bit but more people became comfortable with the fact that we had curbside and drive thru. But the good part about our situation is that everybody has gotta eat,” says Stephanie Bettis, Owner of Choo Choo BBQ.

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But, some business owners are facing hardships they never anticipated.

Owner of Choo Choo BBQ says now that they are getting busier, she needs more help- but hiring new employees has become a challenge she didn’t expect.

“Unemployment on the system is supposed to give you a hand up not a hand out. So, in my mind my initial response was this was to help you in a hard time and now you have a job offer that’s as good as the one you had, why do you not want to go back to work?’ and he said i’m just making too much money not working,” says Bettis.

Those who are currently unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, could apply for Tennessee unemployment insurance benefits which is up $275 a week in addition to the federal benefits of $600 – for a total of up to $875 a week.

“In the restaurant or every industry if people are making 800-875 a week, that’s double sometimes triple what they would make in a week working full time. So when you are a small business paying somebody 800 dollars a week is a lot. So, I don’t know where we go from here,” says Bettis.

According to TN.gov, You cannot be employed and receive unemployment benefits at the same time.

If you are still continuing to certify your unemployment and are now back at work, you will have to return the overpaid money to the state.

In addition, the government has issued statements about cutting off  benefits to employees who could go back to work but are choosing not to – just to continue receiving unemployment.

Bettis says they are looking to add new employees to their staff so if you’re interested, check out their facebook page.

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Joeli Poole joined the WDEF News 12 Team in April 2019 as a Reporter and Producer. You can find her reporting during the week and when not on camera; she's producing the 6 and 11 shows. Joeli grew up with a love for reporting, starting in middle school. She has been the anchor for her middle and high school TV stations, along with the Sports Anchor for her College TV Station. Joeli grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Tennessee when she 10 years old. She went to Cleveland Middle school and Walker Valley High School. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor's degree in Communications. Being from the area, Joeli loves being able to help tell the stories of her community. In her spare time, Joeli enjoys watching her LSU Tigers, hiking, and playing with her dog. Feel free to email any story ideas at jpoole@wdef.com.