Pensacola workers and owners react to Florida $10 minimum wage

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Florida’s minimum wage moved to $10 an hour effective Thursday, Sept. 30, after the majority of Florida residents voted to pass Amendment 2 on their November ballots last year.

The minimum wage was previously set at $8.65.

In downtown Pensacola, the feelings were mixed about Florida’s new minimum wage.

Workers were happy to be paid more, while business owners had concerns.

“I think it’s great, especially for the people that have stayed working throughout the pandemic,” said Cactus Cantina employee Jonathan León.

It was León’s first week back at work after injuring himself playing basketball. He said the new minimum wage was a nice boost.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “This is my first week back to work after my injury so that really helps out a lot.”

But business owners were working to make changes in order to survive the wage hike.

“Right now, we’re working on adjusting some prices to absorb some of this cost that it’s going to take to pay our employees a little more,” said Dog House Deli owner Nathan Holler.

Holler said less than a $1.50 an hour raise might not seem steep, but businesses have to find the money somewhere.

“If your labor is $10 an hour and it goes to $11 an hour throughout the entire state, what’s going to happen is just going to be an increase cost of goods and we’re going to have to charge more for a product,” Holler said.

León said if business is steady, the new minimum wage won’t drastically affect restaurants.

“We get a lot of foot traffic through here and I don’t think much is going to change,” he said. “Sure things are going to go up in price, but that’s just the way it is.”

Holler said he’s always trying to pay his employees more, but it might take the public’s help and tips to keep some small businesses going.

“You know right now a Coca-Cola costs us $2.50. If (minimum wage is) $15 an hour, Coca-Cola might cost you $5. How are we — how are the American people going to handle that? We’ll have to see. Hopefully we can make it.”

Minimum wage scheduled to increase each year on Sept. 30 until 2026 when hourly workers will be earning $15 an hour.

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