3 popular Philadelphia bars will close to give workers week of summer vacation

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Three popular Philadelphia bars will take turns being closed for a week this summer as staff members are given some paid time off.

The International Bar in Kensington is the first bar to close for the week. Johnny Brenda's in Fishtown, and Standard Tap in Northern Liberties will follow in the coming weeks. All three establishments all co-owned by William Reed.

"Everyone would like to have a full seven days to go do something, go to the shore, go do something," he said. "The whole ethic of just work, work, work, work, work in this country, I think a lot of people are questioning coming out of the pandemic when they had forced time off."

He said the time off for the staff will be paid, and workers will make normal wages for a 40-hour week while on vacation.

"It's been the hardest year I can remember," Reed said.

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The idea to shut down was born out of necessity. Reed says he's too short-staffed to figure out vacation time otherwise.

"We had to go back to the old model they used to do in some of the old family restaurants in South Philly, that I recall, which would be close for a week in the summer," Reed said.

Millions of workers have left the restaurant industry since the pandemic. One survey from One Fair Wage reports 53% of restaurant workers are considering leaving their jobs.

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Reed said on any given night, he's short about six people.

"I think a lot of the time the kitchen is running on adrenaline and you can only do that for so long," he said.

In Pennsylvania, employers are not required to offer paid time off. Reed says this week vacation will be standard in his restaurants going forward.

"We want to be one of those places that people want to come here and work and they want to work for a long, long time," he said.

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