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Full capacity returns June 22, but will businesses have enough staff?

Posted at 5:55 AM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 05:55:06-04

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — It’s likely the last week you’ll see masked serves and closed-off tables inside Crispelli's in West Bloomfield. On Tuesday those restrictions come to an end.

“Next Tuesday, I guess 100 percent, mask-free,” said VP of operations Paul Morgan.

RELATED: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces Michigan is dropping all COVID-19 restrictions on June 22

However, some of the changes they’ve put in place are likely to stay. The restaurant's carryout business has increased 2.5 times what it was pre-pandemic and hasn’t slowed down. Areas that used to fit tables full of people are now empty and set aside for carryout lanes.

“We’ve modified a few of our restaurants this way, so this is set up for carryout now,” Morgan said, adding that this method is likely staying around for a while.

"I think until the numbers change, this will stay,” Morgan added.

The restaurant wouldn't have enough staff to cover those tables anyway. Crispelli's even added a $250 hiring bonus for employees who stay at least three months. “We need servers, busers, dishwashers, pizza makers, you name it,” Morgan said.

According to a poll this month from the US Chamber, six in 10 unemployed Americans say they are in no rush to get a job, while three in 10 say they don’t plan to work again for the rest of the year. Thirteen percent say they don’t plan to work ever again.

“Wages are rising quickly, twice as fast as any other industry in the country right now, but it doesn't seem to be enough to meet that demand,” said Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Restaurants had been preparing for a July 1 reopening. The Governor Whitmer's office says they followed the data to move the date up.

“As we saw vaccinations continue to go up and cases and hospitalizations and deaths continue to go down, we felt like like now the numbers made it clear that we could make this action sooner rather than later,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.

However, the order still leaves discretion to the businesses about what orders they keep in place, meaning masks can still be required.

“I've always supported businesses being able to make the choice for their employees, their team members,” Gilchrist said. "And their customers and businesses will continue to be able to continue to do that, and we want people to respect the choices that businesses make."

As for Crispelli’s, it’s now up to the customer -- and will soon be up to the employees -- whether they want to wear a mask as restaurants hope this rollercoaster of a year never happens again.

“It’s been curve ball after curve ball," Morgan said. "I think we’ve all dealt with it the best we can. The (June) 22nd is going to be an exciting day where we can get past this.”

Some orders will remain in effect. Guidance from the state health department for schools is expected to be released next week.