CAPE CORAL, Fla. — New changes are coming to Florida's unemployment relief system. Beginning this week, people will be required to prove they are searching for work in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.
This comes as many industries in southwest Florida are struggling to fill open job positions.
"We have had a huge problem on getting staff," says Julie Meyer, owner of Stillwater Grille in Fort Myers.
For the restauranteur, it has been a headache to find people ready to return to the kitchen.
"Servers and cooks, those are the positions that we are finding that is more difficult to find," says Meyer.
Currently, 4.8% of people are unemployed in Florida. Economists says this is largely due to job loss spurred by the coronavirus pandemic which left many people to rely on unemployment benefits to make ends meet.
Normally, in order to get your check, people would have to prove they are actively applying for jobs, but that rule was temporarily waived by Governor Ron DeSantis last year.
Now the waiver has expired and the rule is coming back. Those who are unemployed will have to submit 3 to 5 job applications every week in order to keep all benefits.
The easiest way to do this is by signing up for the state’s Employ Florida site.
The site gives you access to apply to the more than 460,000 job positions available.
Emily Krutz, Owner of Taking Care of Frizzness Salon in Cape Coral is also short-staffed. She's hopeful that the changes made to the unemployment system will help her to fill the open positions in her salon.
"I am currently booking out into September. Its hard when clients come in for just a simple haircut that normally would take me 25-30 minutes and I have to turn them away simply because I don’t have enough people in here to take them," says Krutz.