Restaurants prepare to fully reopen, still facing staffing issues

restaurant worker shortage
Posted at 11:29 PM, May 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 09:53:21-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - As restaurants eye an end to COVID-19 related rules, many are still facing staffing issues.

The state plans to end a large majority of its COVID-19 related rules on June 15. It includes doing away with physical distancing and capacity limits. Health officials also say the state will largely align with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines on mask-wearing.

"One Hundred percent capacity for us inside is about 45 people. Right now, we're at 23," said Louisa Magoon, the owner of The Grand Tea Room in Escondido. Magoon also said that they plan to continue utilizing their outdoor dining space.

"It's the staffing that's the issue right now," she added. "I had some servers that decided not to come back and one that moved away."

As more and more places began reopening this year, many restaurants reported having difficulty filling open positions.

Grace Agyan, whose family owns A Delight of France, says it's been a problem.

"I just hired a couple of people a few days ago, and they said, 'it's been so hard to find a job,' and I said, 'really? It's been so hard to find staff,'" Agyan recalled, "so I don't know what's going on there."

Magoon says there are resources to get businesses fully restaffed, including job fairs, job sites, and temp agencies. In fact, they turned to a temp agency during Mother's Day weekend.

"We served 435 people in 3 days," she said. "It was super busy, so we had to hire a couple of temps from a temp agency to help us with dishes. It's those dishes that pile up."