Local restaurants forced to adjust hours due to employee shortage

Panama City

PANAMA CITY Fla (WMBB) — It has been a tough year for restaurants and even after opening at full capacity, the struggles continue.

Some local restaurants are having to close down business for one day a week because they are understaffed.

In 2020 unemployment across the country was at an all-time low… now the job opens are there but for some reason, they aren’t getting filled. 

Gilbert Hamati the owner of Trigo in Downtown Panama City said has had major staffing issues for the past three months.

 “I’ve had a big problem finding people here,” Hamati said. “Seems like no one wants to work. Every time I put an ad on Facebook or the paper or anywhere else people reply, but when you can and make an appointment no one shows up.” 

He is not alone. 

Firefly in Panama City Beach was the first to announce they will be closing on Mondays because they are short-staffed. Then The Funky Mermaid in downtown Panama city is doing the same. 

“I’ve been closing on Saturdays because I’m short of employees,” Hamati said. “I’ve been overworking my employees right now as it is and I’m overworking myself.”

Restaurant owners need to shut down business for at least a day to give the hard-working employees they do have some time to rest and they are not sure how much longer this is going to last.

“I mean everyone is suffering, not just me,” Hamati said. “Everyone in the restaurant business is suffering.”

The shortage could be because some are taking advantage of unemployment benefits.  

“There is too much free money from the government I think,” Hamati said. “That’s the biggest problem. We have to quit giving out money and make people start earning their money. You’ve got to work the old fashion way.”

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