Some Massachusetts residents are having to wait weeks for trash services as companies are short staffed due to COVID-19.
“COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state and nation-wide. Because of this, Republic Services has been impacted as well as the waste and recycling industry as a whole,” said Republic Services in a statement to MassLive. “We are doing everything we can to minimize delays and service our customers as fully as possible.”
The company did not specify all the locations in which there were delays, however, those in Wilbraham waited two weeks for trash services and East Longmeadow residents waited multiple days.
The company also did not provide an alternative for customers during the delays.
Republic Services said the delay in Wilbraham was because the company “experienced a recent increase in positive cases across our workforce in Wilbraham.
“Unfortunately this latest COVID wave hit during the holiday period when we traditionally see an increase in waste from households. Because of this, we are seeing a slight delay in residential services,” the statement read.
And they’re not the only ones.
Waste Management has also had delays.
“Like many other industries, the environmental services sector is being impacted by the recent increase in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant,” the company said in a statement. “Throughout the pandemic, we have and will continue to remain focused on the health and safety of our team members. We will continue to manage absences to ensure we provide essential waste and recycling service to our customers. In limited circumstances, staffing issues have resulted in service disruptions, but we are working to limit any further disruptions in the future.”
Some companies are actively working to make sure they are able to hire enough staff to prevent delays.
Casella Waste’s Vice President Joe Fusco told MassLive his company has seen minor delays but nothing major.
“It’s been a challenge for everybody in multiple industries, given the perceived to be labor shortages, but we’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “We do certain things that we feel are probably attractive to people looking for a job.”
One of those things is providing the option for commercial driver’s license school.
“You can come and work for our company and get your CDL license, your commercial driver’s license, in in probably about 10 days at no cost to you,” he said. “A lot of people spend a significant amount of money, take out student loans, to go to a driving school. We’re offering people guaranteed positions and a no cost CDL, so they can advance their career.”
He also credits the areas they work in with helping keep spread of COVID-19 low among their community, including their workers.
Most of their business, he said, is in areas “where people are really concerned about the spread of this omicron variant.” And that’s been important to keeping staff at work, he said.