‘We can’t find anyone anywhere:’ Washington restaurateurs face staff shortage

The next time you’re walking around the neighborhood, take a look at the shop windows, there’s a good chance you’ll see “Help with Search” signs.

“Most of the restaurants I know are short of cooks and front desk staff, and we can’t find anyone anywhere,” said Dan Austin.

Austin is the owner of Peel & Press in West Seattle. The restaurant serves stone-baked pizzas and, before COVID-19, freshly squeezed cocktails.

The restaurant only survived during the postponement, but would like to welcome customers for in-person dinner and extend its hours of operation. However, Austin said he did not have enough staff to do so.

“There are a lot of people who will not come out of the unemployment margin because they are afraid that we are going back and that they will be back out of work,” Austin said. “A lot of these people fought for eight to twelve weeks to get their original unemployment checks. Nobody wants to go through this again.”

There are also those who have made the decision to withdraw from the hospitality industry altogether.

“A lot of people have left the industry. People have looked for other jobs or been forced to re-evaluate what they’re doing and they’re trying something new right now, so we’ve lost people because of the closing.”

Over the past week, more than 20,000 people have petitioned Gov. Jay Inslee for a plan to reopen the state, according to the Washington Hospitality Association (WHA).

President and CEO Anthony Anton said it was exciting to see a clear path forward with the governor’s announcement for full opening by June 30.

“When we offer people work and talk with long-time team members, they know they have a stable job to come back to, and when they get back to work, they’ll be back to work.” , said Anton.

The WHA is still calling for the state to be fully open before the current date of June 30.

“It is time. We have all sacrificed ourselves for over a year. At the beginning of June, anyone who wants to get vaccinated will have one and we are delighted with that. We will have plenty of time to dispel all the myths and then we can. move forward on June 15, ”said Anton.

“I liked June 15 as a date, but June 30 is a victory, and I hope the governor will continue to assess the parameters and if it can be done sooner, do it sooner,” said Austin.

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