BRANSON, Mo. — Businesses are still closing because they are unable to hire enough workers.
It’s been more than a month since the Pandemic Related Federal Unemployment Benefits ended in Missouri, but more help wanted signs and businesses are closing in Branson because of staffing issues.
Getting a burrito for lunch used to be a lot easier for Genesis Oltjenbrun.
“I wanted to stop by southwest Moe’s for my Moe Monday, but they were closed,” said Oltjenbrun. “Didn’t realize that, so I guess they’re short-staffed like everybody’s hurting right now.”
Other restaurants across Branson have been closing or changing their hours due to staffing issues.
According to their Facebook, Mel’s Hard Luck Diner is now closed on Sundays to give their workers some much-needed rest.
New restaurants are also struggling.
“We have been unable to open for breakfast for the entire year,” said Becky Blair, creative manager for Branson Resturants Inc. “The intention was to be open for breakfast probably by the beginning of summer and it’s just not something that we can see is on our makeup at the time because we just don’t have the staff to cover it at the moment.”
Blair says many restaurant workers changed jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’re taking over the Uber driving and the DoorDash driving, and when you can go and work for a few hours, you can make some great tips,” said Blair. “And you have the ability to make your own day.”
Blair says local businesses are reaching out, but no enough people are looking to work.
Blair was recently at a local job fair two weeks ago and only had nine people apply in four hours.
“Nine whole people over four hours, and that wasn’t a failing of getting the word out because there were plenty of businesses there,” said Blair. ” That wasn’t a failing of no one knowing it was happening. It was a failing of people that just aren’t seeking employment at the moment.”