Many restaurants looking for staff ahead of restrictions being lifted on Sunday

Hospitality Saskatchewan is looking forward to seeing restaurants reopen to full capacity on Sunday, but for some it won’t be easy.

While some restaurants were able to keep their full staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, others had to lay off staff, and are having difficulty bringing them back for a variety of reasons.

President and CEO Jim Bence says the larger capacity with less staff could lead to some new challenges.

“The hopes are for many of the operators that they’ve got enough staff that they can just handle the increased loads that they’ll be seeing,” Bence said. “That should be manageable, but in lots of cases, it’s going to be a struggle. Fairly for those ones that may have really reduced their restaurant size, and now they’re really going back to quite a bit more capacity.”

Bence says the problem is also being felt in the hotel and events industry.

There’s going to be pressures because people are moving around, and some people wont be coming back to the jobs they had before,” Bence said. “There’s going to be increases pressure on owners and operators to find good staff to have in place.”

Bence says while this does pose a challenge for the industry, it’s also an opportunity for some young people to get their start.

“Seven out of 10 kids get their very first job in the tourism industry,” Bence said. “That’s always a good market for new folks that are energetic and ready to go.”

Restaurants across the province can open to full capacity so long as tables are still socially distanced effective Sunday. Bence adds for those people attending restaurants that may be short staffed, he encourages them to stay patient and possibly book ahead if possible.

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