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Cincinnati business owners react to unemployment changes in Ohio

The struggle to find workers has put a strain on some restaurants. Their owners hope Thursday’s announcement will change that.
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 11:09 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - At the end of next month, unemployment checks in Ohio will be a bit smaller.

On Thursday Gov. Mike DeWine announced that the state will stop participating in the federal program that gives an additional $300 in unemployment benefits.

Meanwhile, the crowds of diners are coming back to restaurants in Cincinnati. At the Taste of Belgium, the owner tells us that they need help.

“We’re looking for cooks. We’re looking for managers, for hosts, for servers. I mean, anybody, you name it,” Jean-Francois Flechet, owner of Taste of Belgium, said.

Flechet says he has 60-80 positions that need to be filled at his restaurants across the city and that the struggle to find workers has put a strain on everyone.

“Many of us have had to close sections for several days a week because they could not staff the restaurants, and we’ve had several team members who had to work double shifts, so they’re exhausted,” Flechet said.

DeWine says the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Program was a lifeline when people couldn’t work for safety reasons, but now he says it is doing more harm than good.

“It’s having a real impact on Ohio’s ability to fully recover. We are coming back but we need to come back as strong as humanly possible, and it’s having an impact, and it’s slowing that recovery down,” DeWine said.

He announced the extra $300 payment for unemployment will end on June 26.

Several business owners hope this will be enough to bring workers back.

“I think we will see more people coming back to the job market and willing to come back and work, so I think, for our industry especially, in the summer that’s a good thing,” Flechet said.

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