Business owners hopeful following Ivey dropping unemployment COVID benefits


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Governor Kay Ivey announced Monday that Alabama will end its participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs effective June 19.

“You know, the staffing has been an issue in our industry across the entire country and Alabama is no exception to that,” said “Panini” Pete Blohme, owner of the Panini Pete Hospitality Group.

He said his business got ahead of things from the start, moving one of their managers into a recruitment role.

“We have an apprenticeship program, we work the Gateway Initiative. We can put some of these employees in an accredited program where it’s a 12-15 week period and we can train these employees up and we can pay them up to $1.50 more an hour,” he said.

He said he’s hopeful the combination of Ivey’s announcement and things opening more will lead to better times ahead for the restaurant industry as a whole.

“With that federal aid coming off, I think it’ll loosen up the market a little bit,” he said.

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