Salem offering $400 gift cards to boost staffing levels

SALEM, Mass. — The city of Salem is offering $400 Visa gift cards to try to get people back to work ahead of the Halloween season.

Salem and MassHire have teamed up for the new tactic in hopes of boosting staffing levels in the city’s hospitality industry.

The cards are being offered to anyone who gets a job between June 1 and July 23 at a Salem small business, hotel, restaurant, or tourist attraction and retains that job for six weeks prior to Sept. 1.

Those who verify that they’re still employed after Oct. 31 will receive another $400 Visa gift card.

A minimum of 15 hours of work per week is required.

“The hope is, with this incentive, we’ll be able prime the pump and get more people interested in coming back to work,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “For some, it’s starting their first job or maybe even retirees getting back into the workforce.”

News of the incentive spread across the Salem business community on Wednesday.

“It’s been a struggle. I’ve had a couple new people, but they work for a few weeks, and they leave,” said Karen Davis, owner of Coon’s Card & Gift Shop. “I’ve had lot of applications, and nobody wants to work right now.”

Business owners expressed cautious optimism about the $400 Visa cards up for grabs with a maximum payout of $800.

“I think seeing it come up the pike that unemployment is going to go away in a week or two, they’re going to have to do something,” said Kevin Marchino, owner of Rockafellas restaurant and bar. “This could be the push that gets them over the edge to start working quicker.”

Gift cards will be given out to the first 150 people who enroll and prove their employment status at an eligible business.

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