CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — For the last few weeks, 10 On Your Side has been reporting about delays in bulk waste pickup in Chesapeake. Officials say staffing shortages are to blame. With the incoming snow, pickup may be delayed even further.

Staffing shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic are happening across many industries. In Chesapeake, they are hitting the waste management division, which is operating with roughly 50 percent of its typical staff.

It’s causing the department to be weeks behind in picking up bulk waste items and no longer accepting any new requests for bulk item pick up.

The incoming winter weather could also cause further delays in trash pick-up.

“With the winter weather coming in we’re actually pulling off some of our waste management folks to support that effort as well,” said Earl Sorey, the City’s Director of Public Works. “If we lose tomorrow as a collection day, that’s another day that we’re behind as well.  Our folks are doing a fantastic job with the resources they have available, and as we pull people off to do other things and other critical functions, that’s taking time away from these other items.”

Sorey says there’s a small number of people that’s doing a large amount of work.

“We’ve always been pretty nimble in moving resources where we need them, it’s amplified right now though, because while waste management has a 50% vacancy rate, our streets and highways section has about a 38% vacancy rate so everybody is feeling the pain, it’s just amplified in waste management,” Sorey said.

He says they will have 41 snowplows ready to respond.

“We’re doing pre-treatment of all of our major bridges, some of our major roadways,” said Sorey. “We’ve already started our 12-hour shift rotation, so that will run from 7 a.m. this morning to 7 p.m. this evening, then another shift will come on. And we’ll continue that rhythm until the storm has come and gone and all the roadways are clear.”

Learn more about how Chesapeake plows

Sorey asks for the public’s patience and to stay home as much as possible.

“We will have the roads safe as quickly as we can,” he said.

Friday trash and recycling collection routes in Chesapeake will be postponed until Monday, January 24, because of the weather. No trash or recycling collection will take place on Friday. Please place cans at the curbside beginning Sunday evening for Monday collection.

If you have bulk items, take them to the SPSA Greenbrier Transfer Station of SPSA Regional Landfill in Suffolk.

Sorey says if you have a CDL and are looking for a job, they are looking to hire. You can find more about jobs with the City of Chesapeake by clicking here.

The city confirmed all city facilities will be back to normal operating schedules on January 24 following the weekend’s snowstorm. If you encounter ice in parking lots or on sidewalks/steps to City facilities, please contact the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department at 382-6411. They will have crews on standby to spot-treat any areas, as needed.