Coronavirus Updates

Small businesses push back on Gov. Justice’s employee signing bonus idea

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Governor Jim Justice has not finalized his plans yet, but he’s trying to deal with businesses that lost employees during COVID-19. Some workers have been able to make more money in unemployment benefits, so many have chosen not to return to the workplace.

The governor wants a public-private sector partnership to offer bonuses.

“Maybe we give $500, and the business gives $500 and you have a $1000 signing bonus, to get people to come back to work,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

But small businesses like Gonzoburger in Charleston’s Elk City neighborhood are worried. While they are back open, things are tight and signing bonuses may simply be unaffordable.

“That would put an undo burden on most small businesses. You know if they are trying to hire four or five employees, to come up with $2,000, $2,500, you know, in an already thin profit margin,” said Dave Haden, General Manager of Gonzoburger and Mi Cocina de Amor.

The governor noted that concern and said he’s open to negotiations with the business community.

Meanwhile, the latest COVID numbers offer some hope. There were only 175 new cases in the past day, and only one new death. The number of active cases has plummeted below 6,300 statewide. The last time it was this low was nearly two months ago.

“As for the newest eligible for vaccines, the 12 to 15-year olds, the state says nearly 4,000 were vaccinated in the first few days, which is about 5% of that age group,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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