By Da Lin

ALAMEDA (CBS SF) — It’s been two weeks since California has fully reopened, but for some small businesses the road to recovery from their COVID-19 fiscal woes remains slow and rocky.

The biggest obstacle, business owners say, is the slow return of a vibrant labor pool.

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Kyle Conner, who owns Alameda Cinema Grill and Alameda Theatre and Cineplex, is among the small business struggling to fully reopen.

“I started closing on Mondays,” he told KPIX 5. “I’ve always been seven days a week.”

The lack of staffing also forced him to shorten his business hours. He has a dozen job openings.

“I’m operating with two cooks,” he said “Pre-pandemic, we had five or six. I’m looking for a head chief, two or three line cooks, probably three servers, bussers, dishwashers, bartenders. Everything.”

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Labor experts partly blamed the worker shortage on extra money from unemployment benefits for incentivizing people to stay home. And it’s not just restaurants, the entire service industry is facing the same challenge.

“We were opened seven days a week pre-pandemic,” said Julie Pruitt, owner of Acne Specialists of Oakland. “And now we’re only opened five because I don’t have enough staff.”

She is desperate to hire an aesthetician.

“I placed an ad on Craigslist and I haven’t received one email. Not a single resume,” said Pruitt.

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Pruitt said those interested in applying can e-mail her directly at