ELKHART — Several large and small businesses in the Elkhart area have announced that they are hiring amid the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 22,000 Hoosiers filed for unemployment last week.
Among industries hit hard is the restaurant business, banned by an executive order from the governor from having dine-in service.
But the restriction does not hit all restaurants equally hard, and at Jet’s Pizza on C.R. 6, franchise owner Todd Szakacs is hiring. He said being able to hire people who might have lost their job over the COVID-19 crisis is meaningful and important.
“We’re recruiting delivery drivers, preferably with experience, but we’ll look at anybody,” he said.
Jet’s Pizza does not have sit-down service, so the restaurant regulation that began last week will not directly affect the business.
“So far it’s been steady,” Szakacs said.
That does not mean that everything is the same. Beginning Friday, Jet’s Pizza began offering “no-contact delivery,” allowing customers to pay and tip online so the delivery driver can leave the food at the front door without needing a signature. That way, the risk of spreading the coronavirus is minimized.
Three Elkhart nursing homes are looking for a total of 23 new full-time, part-time and temporary employees.
Riverside Village, Elkhart Meadows and East Lake Nursing & Rehabilitation Center are part of American Senior Communities, which is hiring across Indiana.
Regional operations director Kelly Holder said the three nursing homes are looking to hire hospitality aides, cooks, servers, housekeepers, student nurses and certified nursing assistants, among others.
“We’re seeing a lot of people in our community that have been overwhelmed with things happening with this COVID-19 crisis, and people in the restaurant industry and hotels and small business being laid off or having to close their businesses temporarily, and so, as a community member ourselves, we’re trying to get the word out that we do have opportunities available,” Holder said.
Since these are unprecedented times, American Senior Communities is preparing for the unknown, Holder said, and that means adding new staff.
“They can help take on a lot of roles and responsibilities that will free up our clinicians to be able to take on the clinical tasks,” she said.
Grocery storesSome large businesses are also hiring, including grocery stores that have been particularly busy during these last few weeks.
In response to strong demand in stores, Walmart is hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May. In Indiana, Walmart plans to hire more than 2,000 associates to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.
“As a reward for their hard work and dedication to serving customers during this unprecedented health crisis, Walmart will provide more than $365 million in cash bonuses to hourly associates in the U.S. Every hourly associate employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify, and it will pay out on April 2,” a news release said.
In addition, the company will accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus for associates a month early. The early bonus payout will add up to $180 million nationwide. Those steps are in addition to a new COVID-19 emergency leave policy that provides support to employees if they are impacted by the coronavirus.
Kroger is also seeing additional demand and is hiring.
“Kroger has immediate openings for friendly, openhearted and dedicated people. The positions may be perfect for people whose current jobs have been suspended by the coronavirus crisis,” the company said.
The grocery chain is also giving a one-time bonus to every hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service associate, amounting to $300 for every full-time employee and $150 for every part-time employee.
“Grocery workers are on the frontlines, ensuring Americans have access to the food and products they need during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Our associates are working around the clock to keep our stores open for our customers. I am incredibly grateful for all they are doing. The true heroes in this story are our associates, and we want to provide them with additional resources and support to help them continue their remarkable effort.”
The bonus will be paid to frontline employees who were hired on or before March 1, covers the payroll period March 8-28, and will be payable on April 3.
As of Monday afternoon, Kroger had six positions posted for its Elkhart and Goshen stores.
Candidates may visit a store to apply or submit an application at jobs.kroger.com. Job seekers could be placed within just a matter of days, Kroger said.
An executive order issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday means non-essential businesses will have to either shut down for two weeks or have employees work from home. All of the businesses in this story are considered essential and are allowed to stay open.