‘It’s a mess’: Cape Cod restaurants struggling to hire staff as they reopen with restrictions

FALMOUTH, MASS. (WHDH) - Despite restaurants being allowed to reopen with restrictions in Massachusetts, owners in Cape Cod say they’re facing a new struggle of hiring workers.

The Cape’s busy season has kicked off but restaurants like Janet Demetri’s Friendly Fisherman are concerned about meeting demands.

“I normally would have about 35 people on staff and right now I have nine,” she said.

The Friendly Fisherman has been open for a couple of weeks and she Demetri says business has been good but that she had to cut back her hours because of the president’s ban on visas for seasonal workers.

She added that local help on the Cape doesn’t really exist and that means a major money loss for her.

“Here I am at lunch time and I’m closed and I got 20 empty picnic tables and the phone’s been ringing off the hook, but I just can’t do it,” Demetri said on Thursday. “It’s a mess.”

The coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions that have come with it have also hurt the restaurant industry.

“We already lost a month’s worth of business to start off this season and it’s just not something you can make up in September and October,” Demetri continued. “It’s just not happening.”

Even with these difficulties, Demetri is expecting big crowds on Independence Day.

“I think we’re going to get slammed because people are cooped up and they don’t want to be cooped up any longer and the weather’s great,” she said.

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