5 things we learned about how pandemic shortages are impacting your life in Northeast Ohio

·2 min read
Dr. Nancy Cross, left, a veterinarian at the Veterinary Wellness Center of Green, neuters a male cat as she is assisted by Victoria Gardner, a registered veterinary technician. A nationwide shortage of veterinarians is leading to three- to four-week waits for local vet appointments.
Dr. Nancy Cross, left, a veterinarian at the Veterinary Wellness Center of Green, neuters a male cat as she is assisted by Victoria Gardner, a registered veterinary technician. A nationwide shortage of veterinarians is leading to three- to four-week waits for local vet appointments.

No cream cheese, new cars or small propane tanks.

Restaurants and coffee shops are closing for hours or days because they can't find enough workers.

And some small businesses are worried they won't survive the double whammy of rising wages and rising prices of goods.

Fewer workers, higher prices, less stuff: Shortages are changing lives in Northeast Ohio

On Nov. 18, the Akron Beacon Journal, The Canton Repository, The Daily Record and the Record-Courier sent 18 reporters, five photographers and one editor to learn how business owners, workers, shoppers, veterinarians and others are coping with the pandemic-created shortages of supplies and workers.

Here are five of the dozens of interesting things we discovered:

1. A nationwide shortage of veterinarians is leading to three- to four-week waits for local vet appointments. Frustrated, pet owners sometimes call multiple vets trying to get in as soon as they can, making several appointments. One vet in Green has become so frustrated by the no-shows, his practice now insists on deposits from people booking appointments.

2. Nearly every daycare in Ohio is trying to hire workers. Many families have either been wait listed or turned away. An Akron daycare center operated by the YMCA could teach and care for 144 children, but its roster is only half that because of staffing shortages. Many parents can't return to work without daycare for their kids.

3. Workers in Greater Akron who earned $10-15 an hour before the pandemic now only take jobs that pay $15-20, staffing agencies say. Some Akron staffing agency owners thought that would change once pandemic unemployment programs ended, but it hasn't happened and they are not sure why.

4. Restaurant owners are spending lots of time hunting down menu items in short supply. The latest drama at Wil’s Grille & Pub in Coventry was finding saltine crackers. When the eatery's supplier ran out, Wil's owners spent hours calling around to find crackers to serve with their homemade soup and finally bought the last two boxes in another town. Wil's has also been hit by shortages of catfish, chicken, cheesecake and beer.

5. To fill staffing shortages at Akron Children's Hospital, employees are working voluntary overtime in jobs they usually don't do. A nurse manager, for example, works behind a desk during the week, but returns to patient floors on overtime, doing everything from cradling a crying toddler to restocking supplies.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: 5 ways shortages of workers, supplies are impacting Northeast Ohio

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