By Don Ford

ALAMEDA (KPIX) – Some Bay Area workers will see a bump in their next paycheck due to a scheduled increase in the minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage will certainly help a lot of people, but during this pandemic some struggling business owners in Alameda say the timing is a bit awkward.

As more and more people are out of work, looking for jobs due to the pandemic, the minimum wage in Alameda has increased from $13.50 to $15.00 dollars an hour. But the coronavirus has hurt businesses, too and some may be closing for good.

The mayor of Alameda, Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, supports the wage hike, and said she understands times are tough.

“What we have to always balance is the need of the businesses, but also the needs of our workers to be able to pay their rent, be able to put food on the table,” said Mayor Ashcraft.

The pandemic has affected the restaurant and bar business the most. John Frangoulis co-owns The Park Street Tavern. He says, now is not the time to increase expenses.

“Well, it’s a big problem cause what has happened, like I mentioned, restaurants have very slim margins. Actually, they say that restaurants pay this month’s bills with next month’s income,” he said.

Frangoulis isn’t sure when, or even if, he’ll be fully staffed again.

All minimum wage workers across the city are getting the raise, including Alfredo Estrada who works part-time as a security guard.

“Anything that’s helping people should be a good thing. Um, the people that’s having to pay the $15, man, you got to look at it as you helping a person, you’re helping a person do better,” said Estrada.

The wage hike for Alameda workers is more than other California cities where the state minimum wage is $12 an hour for small companies, and $13 for larger ones.

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