Labor shortage forces NYC bars to keep limited pandemic hours

The historic Neir’s Tavern in Queens desires to totally reopen, nevertheless it’s caught at pandemic hours. COVID-19, nonetheless, shouldn’t be the offender this time.

Same with Havana Central in Manhattan and different eateries across the metropolis.

Instead, an absence of staffing is to blame, and enterprise homeowners are pointing fingers at bloated federal unemployment checks.

“Unemployment is for people who can’t find a job, correct?” Loycent Gordon, of Neir’s Tavern, requested The Post. “There’s a whole industry that’s dying for employees! … Have we gone crazy here?”

Under the newest federal stimulus plan, state unemployment checks are boosted by $300 per week till Labor Day. That’s on prime of New York unemployment, which maxes out at $504 per week.

Gordon is on the hunt for a restaurant supervisor, shift supervisor and bartender, which might permit him to resume his pre-pandemic hours of about 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Currently, he’s open from 2 to 11 p.m.

Neir’s, which has been in practically steady operation since 1829, claims to be the oldest bar in New York City. If you’ve seen “Goodfellas,” you’ve seen the bar on the silver display screen.

“Although things are, we’ll call it, opening up, we still have COVID business hours. Not because of COVID rules, but because of labor shortage,” he stated.

Loycent Gordon is on the hunt for a restaurant manager, shift manager and bartender.
Loycent Gordon, of Neir’s Tavern, is on the lookout for a restaurant supervisor, shift supervisor and bartender.
Stefano Giovannini

Loyden stated the additional $300 weekly in unemployment advantages supplied by the federal authorities is “of course” the reason for the service {industry}’s current hiring difficulties.

“Not saying it’s the only thing,” he added, noting that some staff went into different industries and a few left New York state.

Before the pandemic, Gordon stated he employed 10 or 12 individuals, however about six or seven fled the state since March 2020.

Even when he was ready to arrange interviews with potential workers prior to now few weeks, he’s had a number of no-shows. “We might start giving a free burger when you interview,” he stated.

Jeremy Merrin, owner of Havana Central, at his Times Square location.
Jeremy Merrin, proprietor of Havana Central, at his Times Square location.
Annie Wermiel/NY Post

Jeremy Merrin, proprietor of Havana Central, a Cuban bar and restaurant with areas in Midtown, Garden City, and Edison, N.J., stated his operation is “having incredible issues rehiring staff.”

His Times Square location wants about 12 extra staff to “go to pre-COVID levels.”

For now, he’s opening later and shutting earlier. He’s additionally had to shut off sections of the big forty sixth Street area due to an absence of servers. And throughout peak durations, he’s had to cease taking lower-margin Uber Eats and DoorDash orders, due to an absence of cooks.

“Sales right now are still at 50 percent of pre-COVID levels,” he stated. He’s hoping summer season and the return of Broadway reveals will juice his Times-Square prime line.

Neir's Tavern is having a hard time finding staff for the new extended hours of operation.
Neir’s Tavern is having a tough time discovering workers for the brand new prolonged hours of operation.

Merrin, like Gordon, attributes the problem in hiring to former service-industry staff in search of jobs in different fields, the $300 unemployment enhance, and an absence of immigrant staff.

“Our entire industry is driven by immigration,” stated Merrin, who estimates 70 % of his workers are immigrants. Illegal immigrants, whereas not technically eligible for normal unemployment insurance coverage, can receive up to $15,600 from a $2.1 billion fund established by New York state.

Irene O’Halloran, operations supervisor of New York City Restaurant Group, which runs Arte Cafe, says, “Nobody wants to work. It’s been very difficult to find new people.”

“A lot of people want to be paid off the books,” so as to each internet tax-free money and draw unemployment, she stated. “Obviously we can’t do that.”

Jeremy Merrin
Jeremy Merrin attributes the problem in hiring to an absence of immigrant staff.
Annie Wermiel/NY Post

O’Halloran stated that whereas her veteran workers are loyal, she’s given up interviewing for brand new hires — a minimum of till after Labor Day, when the pandemic unemployment complement is about to expire.

“They probably think, ‘I’m getting paid decent and I can have the summer off,’” she stated. “I’ve actually heard people getting paid better on unemployment than when they were working.”

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