It’s all hands on deck on the patio at O’Shea’s Irish Pub in Saskatoon, which recently hired a number of positions ahead of the summer rush and restrictions lifting.
Others in the industry, however, are not as lucky.
“We definitely are finding there’s less applications coming in,” said owner Daniel Ford Beavis.
“We’re hearing from some of the other places we talk to, it’s getting harder and harder to find staff right now.”
As the province reopens, many in the service industry are eager to do the same but don’t have the bodies to do it.
Hospitality Saskatchewan said some tourism outfitters are not opening at full capacity because they just don’t have the staff.
“The positive parts is yes, we’re racing towards reopening. Now it’s just do we have enough hands on deck to be able to pull off the services?” said president Jim Bence.
Employees nervous: union
Despite demand, people don’t seem to be applying to jobs in the service industry like they used to.
“Go to saskjobs.ca and type in hospitality … every single day there’s more and more help wanted,” Bence said.
“If you’ve got mad skills with a knife and a spatula, boy, you’ll be working 20 minutes ago.”
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour represents over 100,000 workers across the province. It said many are nervous, especially with young families at home and COVID-19 variants still on the rise.
“It’s the folks that are on the front lines, that have been on the front lines all along or the ones that have been removed from the workplace and are now going back that are concerned,” said president Lori Johb.
Though masks aren’t required, staff can still wear them. O’Shea’s said it’s important to be respectful and patient as both staff and patrons adjust.
“We talk about it and then there’s been this slow thing: ‘OK I’m vaccinated, I feel safe,’ and everybody’s been kind of saying taking their masks off.”
Beavis said he suspects the smaller job pool is partially because as restrictions lift, people would rather celebrate escaping lockdown by enjoying the summer if they can afford not to work for another month.
He said he expected resumes will be rolling in as the province adjusts back to the old normal.
In the meantime, now may be the time for job seekers to apply.