CT restaurants adapt to staff shortages; workers demand recall rights | Connecticut News

SIMSBURY, CT (WFSB) – A double whammy for restaurants trying to bounce back from COVID, only to be hit hard by a staff shortage.

As of this week, Plan B at Simsbury has closed indoor dining and reduced hours because there aren’t enough staff to keep things running.

The Plan B decision shows some of the difficulties in reviving the economy, as at the same time other hospitality workers, like those in hotels, are struggling to try and get their jobs back.

“COVID has had an effect on everyone in so many ways,” says Heather Loranger, executive vice president of marketing and strategy for Local 8 restaurants.

The economic reopening continues, but some businesses are struggling to find help.

The sign on the door of Plan B in Simsbury tells customers that the food is take out only.

The restaurant says it doesn’t have the staff to serve diners.

This location has also reduced take-out and delivery hours.

“Some people are still traumatized by it. Some people need a break,” said Loranger.

Heather says a lot of the workers aren’t ready to come back and there’s not just one reason.

Some are still worried about their health, others may have moved and some have used the pandemic to change their lives.

“When my job is reactivated, it should come back to me,” noted caterer Allen Chamblee.

But others in the hospitality industry face a different reality.

Allen was a caterer at Pratt and Whitney for fourteen years until he was laid off in March 2020.

He has helped lobby for new legislation that gives him the first dibs when his job reopens.

The law gives recall rights until next year to hoteliers, restaurants and other hospitality workers made redundant during the pandemic.

“I think it was unnecessary. I think, as we speak here, businesses are so desperate for workers’ rights,” said Eric Gjede of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association says the law is not necessary because other jobs exist and many employers are increasing their wages and benefits to attract applicants.

Chamblee says he’s searched, but many of the jobs he sees don’t offer enough to pay for child care and insurance.

“Of course I would do whatever I have to do, but I really wanted to get back to my old job. I had been there for so long and invested my entire career in it,” Chamblee added.

Chamblee and his colleagues worked for a third party contractor and not directly for Pratt and Whitney.

The CBIA says it’s one of its concerns with this law, if these jobs open up, who is responsible for informing workers with recall rights?

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About Ray Coulombe

Ray Coulombe

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