Stockton business owners agree on staff shortages during omicron surgery

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Stockton business owners agree on staff shortages during omicron surgery

Small business owners in Stockton are having to contend with ongoing staffing shortages due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases across California. However, many are pushing past the challenges to make it work, such as Arroyo’s Café in Stockton.

“They’ve been working hard to keep us afloat and some of them putting in overtime and stuff because we’re just so short-handed,” Arroyo said. “We still have limited hours and also we’re limiting the amount of gatherings that we can hold.”

Arroyo has tried to hire more staff over recent months, but it hasn’t always worked out.

California’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has soared five-fold in two weeks and hospitalizations have doubled. As of Friday, in San Joaquin County, the 7-day average has been 73.3 cases per 100,000 people, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. The jump is driven by the omicron variant, first detected in California in late November.

Story Highlights

  • STOCKTON, Calif. —

  • Mario Arroyo, the owner, said he’s been fortunate to be surrounded by great employees.

“We’ve hired and they don’t last very long, so it’s been a very difficult situation,” Arroyo said.

Difficult situations that many businesses currently face.

Elizabeth Guerrero, whose grandparents own Casa Flores in downtown Stockton, said sometimes the restaurant is forced to close its doors due to low staffing levels. “So, it’s definitely been tough like with staffing and stuff because obviously, we don’t want people to come in sick or if they’re dealing with sick family members,” Guerrero said. “On Saturdays, sometimes we just end up closing because we don’t have enough staff to work.”

The adjustments are challenging, but these businesses say they have been resilient and are grateful for the community that continues to support them. “We’re glad that we’re able to stay open the rest of the days,” Guerrero said.

“Our customer base is well-founded and they’ve been supporting us quite a bit,” Arroyo told KCRA 3.