By Kaitlyn McCarthy
COVID-19 is still affecting jobs around the Youngstown area. Whether it’s being short staffed, wearing a mask, extra responsibilities or even social distancing, the virus has forced businesses to adapt.
The Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center at Youngstown State University has been one of the businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19.
“We have reduced some things. Last year we reduced hours. Staffing wise, we also reduced a handful of staff,” assistant director of Operations and Guest Services Cameron Adams said.
For some people, worries about being exposed to COVID-19 are resulting in worker shortages for businesses. Kalli Georgalos, owner of the Mocha House in Youngstown, is just one business owner who’s noticed the change.
“Naturally, peoples’ comfort levels have changed drastically due to the pandemic. A lot of people haven’t been as comfortable working with the public, as we see so many people per day [or] week, so that factor definitely affected the amount of people I was able to schedule,” Georgalos said.
With these changes came stress. Since many businesses had a lack of help, managers said their workers had to work extra hard.
“As a business owner, it definitely hasn’t been an easy journey. We want to make sure our customers and the community are always taken care of and satisfied. Tons of extra hours and work were put in by the staff that remained, which we are so grateful for,” Georgalos said.
At YSU, departments staffed by student workers have not had the same shortages as other departments.
“I don’t think student employees have been as much of a shortage as some businesses,” said assistant director of First Year Services Jessica Gaskell.
Even though the employees have seen less of a shortage, YSU’s workers are responsible for keeping students safe from COVID-19 by mandating masks, social distancing and keeping surfaces clean.
“The biggest impact from staff right now is having to enforce masks to people working out,” Adams said.
Although these rules impact the workers at the rec center, it also impacts people who work out at the gym.
“Obviously it is harder to work out with a mask … So it’s monitoring people, making sure everybody is okay,” said Adams.
There have already been changes in how some businesses are being run this semester compared to the last.
“We are back to pre-pandemic hours and staffing at this point of the semester,” Adams said.
Jobs at YSU and around the Youngstown area are still being impacted by COVID-19. Although some protocols are being lifted, many businesses are not reverting back to normal just yet.