- Restaurant staff continue to struggle with the labor shortage and working conditions associated with the pandemic.
- “All the cooks I know are overworked,” said Brandon Medina, a line cook. Seattle weather.
- An employee of another restaurant suffered from stress-induced eczema and decided to quit.
A severe labor shortage, combined with the impact of enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, has left restaurant workers struggling to cope.
The Seattle Times reported that many of the city’s restaurant workers are exhausted. They take on extra work to deal with staff shortages, but also have no one to cover shifts when they want to take a day off.
Across the country, workers are leaving their jobs at a rapid rate. About 75% of independent restaurants said they had difficulty attracting staff. Some have had to close temporarily due to understaffing, Insider’s Kevin Shalvey reported.
Brandon Medina, a Seattle cook in rotating pop-ups at Ethan Stowell restaurants, told the Seattle Times: “Most of the time, I’m really done with this. All the cooks I know are overworked. All the cooks I know are tired. “
On some days, Medina and her team process 60 pre-orders to take out even before dinner service begins.
Like many other restaurants in the United States, Stowell’s pop-ups are understaffed due to a labor shortage in the area, according to the outlet.
The harsh working conditions as such have prompted some restaurants in Seattle and across the country to raise wages to attract workers accordingly. But for some people, wage increases do not compensate for such difficult working conditions.
The impact of the labor shortage has led to rude behavior from customers in some cases. But customers are also attacking ongoing pandemic rules, including mask warrants.
Desi Caswell, former waiter and host of Capitol Hill Italian restaurant Spinasse for five years, said working in a pandemic had become too stressful. She quit her job in May.
“I’ve had grown men yell at me because they didn’t want to wear a mask or because our policies were too harsh,” she told the Seattle Times.
Caswell said she was frequently faced with these types of situations after Spinasse reopened for food service.
Incidents in which customers refuse to wear face masks continue to grab the headlines, as the Delta variant increases.
In August, a woman in Indiana who says she has asthma filed a lawsuit against the CDC and retailers Krispy Kreme and Sephora over their mask requirements.
The complainant, Jennifer Reinoehl, told Insider’s Kevin Shalvey: “I have been horribly discriminated against and have not been allowed into many stores. I have been harassed.”
The White House and the CDC have noted repeatedly that masks are part of an effective defense against the spread of COVID-19.