New York Times: For Small Towns With Small Work Forces, Omicron Means Small Margins for Error

New York Times: For Small Towns With Small Work Forces, Omicron Means Small Margins for Error. “The virus has ripped through big cities like Los Angeles and New York, sidelining thousands of police officers and transit operators. In many, leaders have rushed to reassure residents that firefighters and paramedics will show up when they call amid record absences. But in small communities, the people responsible for keeping crucial public services up and running say the strain is acute: With bare-bones workforces already stretched thin, there is no margin for error when multiple workers have to call in sick.”

Chronicle Live: Up to a third of North East fire appliances out of action due to Covid says union

Chronicle Live: Up to a third of North East fire appliances out of action due to Covid says union. “As many as a third of fire appliances have been out of action in parts of the North East in recent weeks as the service deals with staff shortages due to the spread of the Covid variant Omicron, a union has said. In Cleveland there should be 18 fire engines available for use at any one time, but at the moment there are generally levels of only 12 to 15 due to Covid and other staffing issues, it says.”

Weathering the storm: Valley restaurants close, pivot amid COVID surge (Daily Independent)

Daily Independent: Weathering the storm: Valley restaurants close, pivot amid COVID surge. “Michael Rusconi was looking forward to a new beginning for his restaurant in 2022 after nearly two years of pandemic- related hardships. But less than a month in, the new year hasn’t been forgiving to Rusconi’s American Kitchen. The fine dining establishment at 10637 N. Tatum Blvd.­ in Phoenix is perpetually shortstaffed, particularly in the kitchen, and is only open five nights per week. With the omicron variant leaving his older guests scared to venture out to eat again, Rusconi said he is considering scaling back his hours and doing away with Saturday brunch to fill staffing gaps.”

New York Times: Now Is the Winter of Broadway’s Discontent

New York Times: Now Is the Winter of Broadway’s Discontent. “The reopening of Broadway last summer, following the longest shutdown in history, provided a jolt of energy to a city ready for a rebound: Bruce Springsteen and block parties, eager audiences and enthusiastic actors. But the Omicron variant that has barreled into the city, sending coronavirus case counts soaring, is now battering Broadway, leaving the industry facing an unexpected and enormous setback on its road back from the pandemic.”

KMBC: Kansas board passes measure to ease COVID-19-related substitute teacher shortages

KMBC: Kansas board passes measure to ease COVID-19-related substitute teacher shortages. “A Kansas state board is hoping that making it easier to obtain a substitute teaching license will help ease the severe shortage of substitute teachers across the state. The Kansas State Board of Education Wednesday passed a temporary emergency change to the requirements to obtain a Temporary Emergency Authorized License.”

NBC News: Amid labor shortage, Army offers largest enlistment bonus ever

NBC News: Amid labor shortage, Army offers largest enlistment bonus ever. “The Army is seeking to blunt the pandemic-fueled labor shortage rocking the country’s economy with its largest bonus ever — $50,000. In a release Wednesday, military recruiting officials said the incentive, for qualified recruits who sign up for certain career paths and agree to active-duty six-year enlistments, is aimed at luring the ‘same talent’ that private companies are competing for.”

Associated Press: Strike teams aid COVID-19 battle, Pritzker preaches vaccine

Associated Press: Strike teams aid COVID-19 battle, Pritzker preaches vaccine. “Mobile strike teams of medical professionals are being dispatched to parts of Illinois most in need of assistance battling COVID-19 that has sickened record numbers and stretched health care resources thin, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday. But Pritzker and his public health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike continued to pound the drum that vaccinations, booster shots and masks are the best way to prevent the spread of the disease that has landed an unprecedented 7,100 people in hospitals across the state.”

State of North Carolina: Governor Cooper Announces Policy Allowing State Employees to Use Volunteer Days to Provide Support in Schools

State of North Carolina: Governor Cooper Announces Policy Allowing State Employees to Use Volunteer Days to Provide Support in Schools. “Governor Roy Cooper today announced plans to help combat staff shortages in K-12 school districts across the state during the current surge of COVID-19 cases. The policy will allow state employees to use volunteer days with supervisor approval to work in North Carolina public schools as substitute teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria staff.”

United Airlines details Omicron’s toll: 3,000 workers have the coronavirus. (New York Times)

New York Times: United Airlines details Omicron’s toll: 3,000 workers have the coronavirus. “In a single day over the holidays, nearly one in three United Airlines employees called in sick at Newark Liberty International Airport, a major hub for the airline, the company’s chief executive said on Tuesday. The revelation, which came in a memo to staff from the airline’s chief executive, Scott Kirby, helps explain why U.S. airlines have had to cancel more than more than 27,000 flights, or about 8 percent of all scheduled trips, over two weeks starting the day before Christmas, according to FlightAware, a data tracking service.”

ABC 30: Calif. health care workers who are asymptomatic with COVID won’t have to test or isolate to work

ABC 30: Calif. health care workers who are asymptomatic with COVID won’t have to test or isolate to work. ” California health care workers won’t have to isolate or test negative to go back to work if they are asymptomatic until February 1. As omicron cases continue to surge and hospital staffing shortages increase across the state, California’s department of public health is changing its COVID isolation guidelines.”