Photo by Sterling Davis via Unsplash
After over a year of some of the most strict COVID-19 restrictions in the country, California has lifted some of its mandates that went into effect in March 2020. The state will now more closely align itself with CDC guidelines, as more than 70% of its residents have received at least one dose of the vaccination.
But Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said California is not in the clear yet. California remains under a State of Emergency (SOE), meaning Newsom could reinforce mandates at any time.
“We’re not done. This is not spiking the football tomorrow. It’s not mission accomplished tomorrow. This virus is not going away tomorrow. This pandemic is not behind us tomorrow,” said Newsom in a news conference on June 14.
The reopening has been a wave of relief to restaurants, who have been struggling since the beginning of the pandemic.
Getting customers to come back to restaurants hasn’t been the problem, instead it has been getting employees to return.
Owner of a hospitality firm, Wendy Tuttle, told Scriberr News that many restaurants are overworking their remaining staff to compensate for the labor shortages.
“I’ve got restaurants right now that can be at 100% capacity but are still going to be only open for dinner because they can’t find enough staff to be lunch and dinner again,” Tuttle said.
As of May this year, almost a third of California restaurants were forced to close. Now those remaining are excited to get back to welcoming customers at full capacity, but need the staff in order to do so.
With unemployment benefits still available until September, Tuttle thinks it will be a while until restaurants start to ramp up to where they were pre-pandemic.
With the shortage of labor, employers are offering employees higher wages to incentivize them to return to work.
“I had [a client] who is a floor manager making $65 which is a good salary, but someone called him and offered him $85 for the same position,” Tuttle said.
She added that restaurants will not be able to sustain a payroll like this.
The state may be open for the first time in over a year, but it may be a few more months until businesses in the restaurant industry make a full recovery.