Central Texas businesses struggling to operate with spike in COVID-sick calls

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The rapid spread of the latest COVID-19 variant is sidelining more than just individual lives at this point, it’s disrupting business owners who can’t get enough healthy employees to show up to work.

From canceled flights at the airport to supply shortage issues at businesses. It all stems from staffing issues because of COVID-19, and now these are consequences we’re having to live with. 

Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 20% of its flights Thursday and delayed dozens more, partly blamed on weather but also on COVID-19-sick calls.

“Honestly, I hate to say it, but avoid traveling if you can,” traveler Melissa Keller said. “It’s really become a big issue.”

Also feeling effects is the City of Taylor. It posted on Facebook saying due to COVID-19 staffing shortages, it had to close a department front office and modify services. 

“[We] opened up some of our departments a little bit later, or we’ve had to transition into doing business either over the phone or via email,” City of Taylor Communications Coordinator Kendra Dubee said.

On Three Kings Day, or the Christian “epiphany” celebration, Mi Tradición Bakery can’t keep up with the demand for the day’s signature pastry.

“We just don’t have the manpower to take any orders online,” said owner Jesus Guevara. “We’re just making a lot of roscas and hoping for the best. Hopefully, our customers can understand our struggle, though a lot of businesses are facing the same problem.”

In Travis County, officials plead with the community to take responsibility for keeping each other safe. 

“Help keep schools open, help keep businesses open, and help keep our workers safe,” Travis County Judge Andy Brown said. “Please wear a mask, get vaccinated and get boosted.”

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