Help Wanted: Local officials urge citizens to return to work in Fresno

CBS47 News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — Local businesses are partnering with city officials to send a message to Governor Newsom, saying it’s time for Californians to get back to work.

“Everything is back to normal, but for us business people, it’s not back to normal yet. Actually, it’s getting more and more difficult,” said Serge Haitayn, who’s owned the Belmont car wash, gas station and convenience store for 30 years.

Haitayn is one of many business owners who celebrated the re-opening of California’s economy on June 15.

“I mean last year at this time if you remember, there was no one even driving on these streets,” he said.

However, instead of things getting better, Haitayn says they’ve gotten worse.

“I’m not getting any applications,” he said. “In the last two weeks, I’ve gotten a few applications, but they seem not to be sincere. When you call them back, they don’t reply, they don’t show up.”

City leaders like Mayor Jerry Dyer and Councilmember Luis Chavez say the issues faced by Haitayn are persistent across the city, and they believe the state needs to create incentives to get people back to work.

“That governor is not allowing them to thrive in the manner in which they can,” Dyer said.

They’ve partnered with the Fresno Chamber Political Action Committee’s “Help Wanted California Coalition” to come up with incentive programs and travel to Sacramento to lobby for change.

“Right now, it has become more profitable for folks to sit at home, collecting unemployment, than to actually go out and work full time,” Chavez said.

Councilmember Chavez says they are going to encourage governor Newsom to create back-to-work incentives and provide funding that may allow the city to grant businesses the ability to increase hourly wages and attract more employees.

“The talent is going to go where they pay better or have more benefits,” he said. “I think the City of Fresno can facilitate that by way of those grants, where we can provide them to these small businesses so they can be more competitive.”

Chavez also mentioned the possibility of changing the programs rolled out during the pandemic to only be available to those searching for work or going back to work.

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