The COVID-19 pandemic was a shock to everyone’s system. It changed all of our lives as we did what we had to do to try to keep the spread of the insidious disease to a minimum. For many workers, that meant doing their jobs from home.

But there are some jobs where that’s just not possible. You can’t weld metals together or serve a restaurant customer virtually. Restaurant workers and other service industry employees were among those who took the biggest economic hit as a result of the pandemic.

The government did the right thing by helping those who couldn’t work. It appears the programs did such a good job that some workers have yet to return, even as we begin to open back up to a state closer to before the pandemic.

As more and more people get vaccinated, people are going to want to return to the way things were prior to the pandemic. That means going to sporting events, movie theaters and restaurants.

But the business owners who talked to The News told us they lack the workers to meet the growing demand. Some are going as far as taking tables out of their establishments or altering their hours of operation.

That’s why if you pull into your favorite restaurant, you will find a now hiring sign somewhere in the vicinity. Many restaurants, whether they are locally owned or part of a national chain, are in need of employees.

Workers who interact with the public, like restaurant servers, are no doubt worried about potentially catching COVID-19. That is a legitimate concern, especially for families where there are multiple generations living under the same roof.

The good news is that we have the answer to these fears in the form of multiple vaccines that have been shown to be very effective against COVID-19.

Vaccines in Georgia are also open to everyone who is 16-years-old and older, and a variety of places are offering the vaccine at no cost.

The government aid will eventually come to an end. It is simply unsustainable for the government to supplement the income of capable workers for so long when added to those it supported before the pandemic began.

We have been given the tools to take back our lives, so let’s do exactly that. Let’s get vaccinated and get back to work.

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The Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce was lucky enough to have timed its annual Business and Bites event in 2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic.