PHOENIX - Restaurants have reopened as Arizona's stay-at-home order expired, but an unintended consequence of the CARES Act is causing headaches for some owners, who may have a problem getting their workers back.
The CARES Act increased unemployment benefits by $600 to those who qualify until the end of July, but some workers who are now called back to restaurants that are reopening are saying thanks, but no thanks.
"It puts you in a bad spot. What do I tell them?" said Justin Piazza, who finally reopened his restaurant's dine-in operations.
Piazza is finding out that some of his servers are reluctant to return. The bottom line is some are making more money while not working. Those workers' unemployment benefits are $840 a week.
"If you don't want to come back, I understand that but I will have to hire somebody else, and when you are when unemployment runs out, I may not be able to bring you back," said Piazza.
Officials with the Arizona Department of Economic Security say if a worker refuses a bona fide job offer, the department can disqualify them from unemployment benefits. DES officials says the unemployed can keep benefits for several reasons, most related to COVID-19.
Piazza, meanwhile, says he will not notify DES of workers who refuse to return.
"Basically going to threaten you and say, 'Hey! Take your job back or I'm going to tell on you?'" said Piazza. "So someone is going to come want to work at my restaurant after I just took $600. It's not my job. I'm not the police. I'm not the government. I'm the pizza man, and I'm not going to do that to anybody."