As small businesses look to fill open positions and recover from the pandemic, the city of Salem and the MassHire North Shore Career Center are making it pay to get a job in the Witch City this summer.

People hired between June 1 and July 23 for jobs at Salem restaurants, hotels, attractions and retailers with fewer than 25 employees who work at least 15 hours per week for six weeks can enter to win $400 in Visa gift cards, the city and MassHire announced Wednesday. Another $400 in Visa gift cards will go to an employee who holds the job through Halloween.

“Salem’s small businesses are now open and ready to welcome back residents and visitors alike. Many employers have openings to fill and the City of Salem and MassHire are happy to help encourage job seekers through these incentives,” Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said.

Eligibility for the incentive will be limited to the first 150 people who register online and verify their employment status. Enrollment will end Aug. 20. The money for the incentives will come from CARES Act funding provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist small employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the city said.

Despite the pandemic, which led state and local officials to urge tourists to stay away from Salem during its typically busy Halloween season last year, Driscoll said her city saw “no net loss in businesses last year” and even saw its storefront vacancy rate fall below 5 percent.

“Nearly two-thirds of residents who became unemployed last spring when the pandemic started are now employed again,” Driscoll said. “Salem is vibrant and busy, with rapidly increasing levels of economic activity.”

(Copyright (c) 2021 State House News Service.

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