The US hotel and restaurant industry is expecting a bumper summer as Americans indulge pent-up wanderlust. But chronic staff shortages threaten chaos: Some restaurants can’t fully open because they lack kitchen and wait staffs. The industry is also missing thousands of seasonal guest workers who can’t travel owing to pandemic restrictions.
The hotel trade has its own staffing issues and is also being hammered by the shutdown in business travel. It warns that without a government bailout, it will be down another half million jobs by the end of the year — after losing 8 million jobs since the pandemic began.
‘Do you have any questions’
US President Joe Biden made a Cinco de Mayo lunch run on Wednesday, aiming to show off his administration’s relief program for restaurants hurt by the pandemic. Stepping up to the counter of Washington taqueria Las Gemelas, Biden informed kitchen workers that their industry had lost 2.8 million employees during the coronavirus crisis. “Already almost 200,000 people have applied for this program. You’re the very first one in the whole nation,” Biden said. “Do you have any questions?”