As reopening continues, restaurants struggle to find staff

As more restaurants reopen, seating capacity increases and diners return to eat out, some establishments restaurants are having a hard time hiring enough staff to meet the new demand.

Upper West Side Slovenian restaurant Pakerna opened in December but were forced to close two weeks later. Waitresses that worked there left to become contact tracers, while bartenders went on unemployment. 

Owner Dean O’Neil has never been able to establish a solid workforce here and he’s afraid he never will.

"I couldn’t work out really why. And then I found it was basically they could receive money without having to work. Then they wanted to be paid only in cash. It’s unacceptable" said O’Neil who on most nights only has one chef working in his kitchen.

"Ideally we want to try to bring back as many people to work as safely as possible, as soon as possible, but I think it's going to take a long time," said Andrew Rigie of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.

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