Seasonal businesses along the shoreline struggle to find enough workers to fill shifts

New London

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH)– There is a lot of excitement as businesses start to reopen after the pandemic. Many of them are seasonal and are already seeing a boom in business.

Sea View Snack Bar in Mystic is back in full swing.

“Frying fish everyday. It’s my favorite thing,” said Fry Cook Anthony Pont.

Business has been booming.

“Mother’s Day was whooo so busy order after order after order,” said Pont. “I loved it though.”

Still they have had a tough time getting enough people to fill all the shifts. A challenge facing restaurants and retail stores throughout the state.

“Advertising all over and just not getting applications. Not even people that aren’t qualified we’re not even getting applications,” said Sea View Snack Bar Manager Michelle Woodmansee. “So very challenging this year.”

“We typically hire about 150 people,” said Dave Sugrue of Ocean Beach Park in New London.

Ocean Beach Park has had three job fairs and is only at a third of the staff it needs to run the rides, man concession stands, and fill the lifeguard chairs which require certified guards. 

“Fortunately we have the ability to train lifeguards unlike many other places,” said Sugrue.

That has helped out quite a bit as lifeguard shortages have been seen all along the east coast. 

Ocean Beach Park like Sea View does seem to have some pretty enthusiastic workers.

“Come. Come see us. Come taste some food and maybe get a job,” said Sea View Snack Bar Cook Joy Lafoe.

“You’re on your feet all day,” added Sea View Employee Sydney Olsen. “So it’s good exercise and it’s… as you can see the view you get beautiful sunsets every night.”

“For me the most satisfactory is seeing the families,” said Prep Chef Dana Ragsdale.

But managers say with beefed up unemployment benefits fewer people want to work.

“If they’re receiving more money whatever staying home then why go work?” questioned Woodmansee.

Many seasonal places have employees who return year after year and a lot of them are students but the big challenge is getting new people to come in.

“If we have to we’ll look at modifying some hours at some of the attractions and what we can do,” said Sugrue. “But we all jump in as managers as well.”

Friends and family are also helping out.

“Probably going to be more than they originally wanted to help but that’s okay,” said Woodmansee with a laugh.

Applications are now being accepted. 

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