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Mayor Dyer requests end of extra unemployment benefits, businesses offering incentives

Mayor Bobby Dyer put in a request to the governor to end extra unemployment benefits. Local businesses say this is only one piece of the hiring puzzle.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Jobs are opening up in Hampton Roads, but business owners said they are not seeing enough people fill those positions. It's a common trend among several industries and there's no single reason behind this change.

President of retail store, Coastal Edge, Dee Nachnani said he has several positions open at his stores. He said he has a new store opening up along the Lynnhaven Parkway, and he worries there won't be many applicants for the new jobs.

"It is definitely challenging with the amount of staff that we have at each location," said Nachnani.

Nachnani said he feels as though workers in the region got a wake-up call during the pandemic and are now searching for different types of job opportunities. He said with the state's minimum wage raise and his ability to accommodate flexible scheduling, he thinks there is more to encourage people to get back to work. Nachnani said he agrees with the mayor, but said there's more to the solution.

"A lot of people are getting that extra payment. I think what the governor is doing is great to help people, but eventually, people get used to it," said Nachnani. "We do have flexible hours, but at the end of the day, you got to work the hours."

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Mayor Dyer said he understood the reason behind the governor's original decision to add extra unemployment payments to help people get through the pandemic. However, he said as we revert back to a more normal sense of life, he believes Virginia Beach needs to adjust.

"I honestly think we're in a crisis situation," said Dyer. "COVID, you know, kind of hopefully is for the most part in the rearview mirror now...and we have to adjust accordingly."

Dyer said he wants to work with other business leaders and the governor to create more incentives to return to work, such as offering flexible hours and childcare options for parents.

"There were a lot of complicating factors out there, but that being said, now that we're moving forward, let's come up with these solutions to see if we can create a better working environment," said Dyer.

While the governor didn't agree to take on the request to end extra unemployment payments, Mayor Dyer said he will continue to find ways to bring more people back into the workforce.