WINNIPEG - Amid the launch of le Burger Week, in the last days of summer, and following Labour Day festivities that brought more businesses to Manitoba’s Foodservice and Hospitality sector than it’s seen in months, advocates for the industry are asking for help with a different kind of deficit.
Finally beginning to recover from lockdown losses, restaurants across the province say they're facing challenges handling both food orders and health and safety requirements, as customers, now vaccinated en masse against COVID-19, flooded through their doors despite a lack of staff having returned to the job to meet the demand.
Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association Executive Director Shaun Jeffrey says staff at many restaurants this weekend felt a sense of chaos as they tried to accommodate the influx of businesses. New public health orders were implemented on Friday that required all diners to show proof of vaccination. Jeffrey says that’s put a lot of extra workload on staff getting those customers through the doors.
That extra workload comes as many food service businesses are understaffed. Jeffrey says restaurant personnel have been reluctant, and don’t have enough incentive, to return to work after lock-down layoffs. He says federal aid programs that are still in place, like the Canada Recovery Benefit, need to be put to an end in Manitoba to encourage staff in the industry to get back to their careers.
He says that despite the extra work right now, businesses prefer being allowed to open over being forced to close under another lockdown.