COVID-19 had its first economic strike in Massachusetts on March 15, when Governor Charlie Baker banned eating at restaurants. The first financial victims were the restaurants and their employees. The mandatory business closings were extended to all non-essential workplaces on March 23. The pain expanded to all businesses unable to classify themselves as essential.

Since that time, more than 893,000 people (24% of the state's work force) have filed for unemployment in Massachusetts after being laid off for coronavirus-related reasons, and the numbers keep swelling with each passing week.

Tuesday, Governor Baker announced a new target date of May 18 to begin the process of allowing non-essential businesses to slowly reopen in stages. An advisory board of politicians from around the Commonwealth, along with business leaders and medical experts, will help slowly transition Massachusetts back to our new normal. We're lucky to have the CEO of Joseph Abboud, Joe Bahena, as an ambassador for the SouthCoast sitting on the committee.

With the number of unemployed people, it might seem that restaffing businesses would be an easy task, but according to many SouthCoast businesses, they are preparing for a real struggle.

I've spoken to landscapers, builders, restaurant owners and more. Without exception, they are all telling me the same thing: they are worried that their staff will not be returning to their old jobs because the attractive federal stimulus package is set up to pay them more.

Looking on the bright side, this is going to create a massive number of job openings here on the SouthCoast in the very near future. When/if reopening begins on May 18, there is the potential for many choices when it comes to jobs.

If you are a business owner, we are going to use this as a place to collect info on any job openings you may have. Our goal is to give candidates a single place to browse any local job openings in order to help get the SouthCoast back to work.

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