Staffing shortages continue to impact Philadelphia-area businesses

With seasonal employees now back in school, some workers are pulling doubles to keep the business up and running.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The continuing staffing shortages are forcing businesses across the Philadelphia region to cut back on days and hours of operation. Some say they've never dealt with staffing shortages on such a large scale.

The Olde Bar on the 100 Block of Walnut Street in Philadelphia is one of a large number of restaurants closed Mondays and Tuesdays. It's owned by the Garces Group, which operates seven restaurants in the city.

"For me to get all my restaurants opened and up and running, I'm limiting their hours and I'm limiting their days of the week. So most of our locations are open Wednesday through Sunday," said Scott Campanella, the COO of the Garces Group.

With seasonal employees now back in school, some workers are working doubles to keep the business up and running. But it's not just the restaurant industry suffering from staffing shortages. Many companies that deliver the goods are in serious need of truck drivers that are hard to find these days.

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"That's why you're seeing the supply chains breaking down, that's why we're seeing menus without items on them, that's why we're seeing prices skyrocket," said Ben Fileccia of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association.

According to the most recent regional data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' job openings and labor turnover survey: in July 2021, the Northeast region had over two million (2,111,000) job openings. That's up 19% from June 2021, up 72% from July 2020, and up 80% from July 2019.

"It's become frightening for a city like Philadelphia, it harkens back to the pre-Stephen Starr days where you're back in the '90s and every other store is closed," said Campanella.

Chris Dharod, who operates hundreds of restaurant franchises and commercial real estate properties, says some workers are not returning out of fear of catching COVID-19 and others are cutting back on expenses.

"I think some of it is folks have money from government stimulus, from other things, they've cut back on expenses," said Dharod, the president of SCCP Management. "I think over time people will come back to work."

Some experts estimate it could take 3 to 18 months to get back to where we were pre-COVID days.

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