For more than a year, New Jersey restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach has been waiting for this moment: The U.S. Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the Jersey Shore’s summer season, and the state is finally lifting indoor capacity limits as the coronavirus pandemic eases.
But the 56-year-old is pulling tables off the dining room floor, closing one of her restaurants an extra day a week and postponing the seasonal opening of another – all because she cannot find enough workers to operate her eateries.
“On Friday night, I left one of the venues and cried for 24 hours,” said Schlossbach, who estimated she is still down about 50% from her normal staffing level at this time of year. “I’m just so overwhelmed – I feel like I’m underwater.”
Half a world away, the state government in Queensland, Australia, is offering A$1,500 bonuses, free travel vouchers and discounted accommodation to entice people to go “Work in Paradise.”