Long Island restaurants still struggling to find staff as reopening continues

"For hire" signs are taped to restaurant windows all across Long Island. It’s a reality the owner of the Plainview Diner never thought he’d be facing.

"This is the worst I’ve ever seen it as far as trying to find people to work. My father has been in the business 50 years, he says the same thing," said the diner’s owner, Niko Papavasilopolos.

Papavasilopolos will offer some extra incentives on a case-by-case basis, like higher pay and extra vacation days. It’s the same struggle for Maria Maroni, owner of Maroni Cuisine in Northport, which is known for its exclusive tasting menu.

"It’s the first time I did put out a post for hiring and I got one reply, which shocked me. I thought I was going to be interviewing for days," said Maroni.

Around the corner at The Wine Cellar on Main, owner Lindsay Ostrander is also struggling to find staff, especially kitchen workers.  She and the other owners we spoke to tell us the main reason they believe employees are so hard to come by these days.

"Definitely the unemployment, definitely the benefits everyone is getting. There is no incentive to go back to work. People are earning more if not just about what they usually do after a 40 hour week so why would they want to?" said Ostrander.

All three owners tell us business is picking up, but they don’t have the staff to fully run their operations the way they’d like to. They predict there will be a surge in restaurant workers looking for jobs when unemployment benefits run out.

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