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Omicron cases causing staffing shortages at businesses, impacting trash pickup in St. Lucie County

At-home COVID tests to be distributed at libraries
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jan 04, 2022

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — From animal shelters to banks, restaurants and even trash pickup, the coronavirus continues to affect our everyday life.

Many businesses and services are again being impacted by the spike in COVID-19 cases as the omicron variant spreads across Florida.

For the past 12 months, Pickled Restaurant and Bar in Fort Pierce has been navigating new challenges, opening its doors in the middle of the pandemic.

"Now we're having issues with people wanting to actually work," said Lisa Rogers, general manager at Pickled Restaurant and Bar.

Lisa Rogers, general manager at Pickled restaurant in Fort Pierce
Lisa Rogers speaks about the struggles of operating a restaurant amid the pandemic.

Like many businesses, her restaurant is facing staffing issues.

But with the omicron variant fueling a surge of new COVID cases, Pickled Restaurant is thankful it's still riding a wave of new business.

"We are very lucky, knock on wood, our staff has been very healthy," Rogers said.

But some other businesses in downtown Fort Pierce have been forced to close again because of the spike in cases.

And other places are still experiencing delays, disruptions and shortages with COVID-19 causing more sick-outs.

"Our libraries, we've had to scale back some of the hours. We warned patrons to call ahead to make sure storytime is still happening before you go," said Erick Gill, communications division director at St. Lucie County.

Erick Gill, communication director in St. Lucie County
Erick Gill says some county services have been impacted by the latest spike in the COVID-19 cases.

Curbside trash and recycling pickup in St. Lucie County has been delayed with Waste Pro experiencing a large number of employees calling out sick or stuck in quarantine.

"We're asking residents to put their garbage out a little earlier, if they can, by 7 a.m., because they're adjusting their routes to try and get out a little earlier," Gill said.

St. Lucie County residents can do the following things to lessen the chance of experiencing a service delay:

  • If your yard waste, garbage or recycling is not picked up on your regularly scheduled day, you can leave it out the following day (most delayed collections are recovered the very next day)
  • Containerize as much waste as possible. This includes either bagging or containerizing yard waste to reduce the number of clam piles. This will reduce the chance of your pile being left behind.

With experts predicting the omicron variant will peak in about two weeks, Rogers said it's continuing to make safety a priority.

"We don't want to have to shut down or have any reason to lose our business, whether it be our staff is sick or we have to shut down because too many people are sick," Rogers said.

To help control the spread of omicron, officials in St. Lucie County will be distributing more than 5,000 at-home COVID test kits beginning Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the county's six branch libraries.

Tests will be distributed via curbside at the various libraries, so residents do not need to leave their vehicles.

St. Lucie County Branch Libraries are located at:

  • Susan B. Kilmer Branch, 101 Melody Lane, Fort Pierce
  • Lakewood Park Branch, 7605 Santa Barbara Drive, Fort Pierce
  • Zora Neale Hurston Branch, 3008 Ave. D, Fort Pierce
  • Morningside Branch, 2410 SE Morningside Blvd., Port St. Lucie
  • Port St. Lucie Branch, 180 SW Prima Vista Blvd., Port St. Lucie
  • Paula A. Lewis Branch, 2950 SW Rosser Blvd., Port St. Lucie