HOPE, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – The City of Hope, Arkansas continues to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic, and now, officials are trying to get residents back to work.
Mayor of Hope Don Still says COVID-19 relief funds like stimulus checks and tax refunds are allowing people to stay at home longer.
Although restaurants and companies in Hope have the green light to re-open and traffic is picking up Still says businesses are slow to open at full capacity. The reason being they don’t have the help they need.
“Once we get the workforce back, there’s plenty of business to be had. It’s just getting everybody back to work and getting everything wide-open again,” said Still.
Food plants like Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride are the driving forces behind the local economy. To encourage people to come back to work, still says these businesses are offering large incentives.
“It’s making it harder on the people working. If you talk to the local restaurants, they’re in the same shape. They’re not full wide-open because they can’t hire enough staff,” said Still.
The mayor says the city has gone from one problem to the next. The vaccination rates are not as high as they would like them to be.
“The central workers have been out here since day one and they’ve worked all the way through it. And I think we’re seeing some people decide not to get the shot because they’ve been out in the workforce every day,” said Still.
Mayor Still says getting all of Hope back in full motion is a community-wide effort.
“I’m looking forward to the turning the corner to get completely back to normal. Maybe by mid or end summer we’ll be there. That’s my hope,” said Still.