Looking to rebound, beach businesses seek willing workers

Bars and restaurants on the east end of Long Beach are already buzzing with seasonal patrons, thanks to the much-anticipated arrival of warmer weather and loosened coronavirus restrictions.

Businesses in the beach community rake in the most money between the Memorial Day and Labor Day window. However, as Memorial Day weekend approaches this year, many of the neighborhood's businesses are feeling the pinch of a tight labor market. During the busy summer months, they need more staffers to handle the influx of tourists.

Henry Velasquez, the general manager at Brixx and Barley, said many of his workers went on unemployment during the height of the pandemic and still haven't come back to work. 

"I probably could use a couple more front-of-house servers, bartenders," he said. "My most difficult part is the kitchen, back of house —pizza guys, prep guys, chefs — that's pretty much what everyone on the block is struggling with right now."

The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce is working alongside the City Council to organize a job fair. The city is looking for seasonal workers to staff its beaches, which are only operating at 50% capacity right now.

Long Island wants its beaches fully open this summer

"We used science to limit the capacity on the beach last year and close certain things," City Council President John Bendo told FOX 5 NY. "It's now time to use the same science to open it up."

A spokesperson for the State Parks said the swimming season on the beaches will begin under the current pandemic guidelines.

"We understand the concerns and that beaches are critical to the economy and quality of life on Long Island," the spokesperson said. "As things continue to evolve based on the data and science, we will make revisions as needed in coordination with the State Department of Health."