Coronavirus Impact: Some San Francisco restaurants fear employees won't come back after shelter-in-place

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The governor says billions of dollars in unemployment money has been distributed but the complaints continue to rise as some are left in the dark.

In fact some restaurant owners are now fearful that their employees may not want to come back because they're making more on unemployment benefits than they would be when the reopen happens.

"It's just kind of frustrating," says Terry Harnish whose wife Laura has been disqualified twice for unemployment benefits with no explanation after her former job recommended that she apply.

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"To hear the news updates that they're doing such a great job re-allocating people and open from 8 to 8 and all these other things when they're not able to do it."

On Monday Governor Newsom highlighted the $4.4 billion that has been given out since March 15 but admitted there are phone and system wide problems.

"We get it we're doing everything in our power to get it done I'm not going to sit here and complain about old IT systems and we have an old IT system."

As some aren't being paid others are and that concerns restaurant owners going forward. With the extra unemployment money going out many workers are making $1,050 a week. Above what some would be making at work when they come back in what will likely be a reduced role.

"When they work part time they consider 'oh maybe I'm not going back to work because I can't get money from the unemployment money,'" says Sukhanya Limmahasal who manages Blackwood Restaurant in San Francisco's Marina District.

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"Right now there's a concern about getting your whole work force back or you bring them all back and everybody works half a shift and there is reduced income coming in for everybody," says Laurie Thomas who is the executive director of Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

Thomas owns Rose's Cafe and Terzo in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco.

We asked about your concerns online and close to two hundred of you responded with complaints about the system, one that the governor says is a work in progress but one that Terry Harnish hopes will improve soon.

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