Struggle to hire seasonal workers on Cape Cod

ORLEANS, Mass. — Cape Cod realtor Lindsey O’Connell is seeing a booming housing and rental market, but its left workforce housing in a tough spot.

“Dire beyond dire, at this point last year, we were at a mission critical. We are beyond that at this point,” said O’Connell.

That’s not all.

“A lot of our workforce in the summertime are the J1 visa kids, so they come from countries all over Europe, Ireland, Ukraine we have a lot of kids come over. They come from everywhere and they are restricted from them being able to enter the U.S at this point,” said O’Connell.

“The Rail” in Orleans is set to open in a few weeks.

The owners Cameron and Tyler Hadfield are spending long days getting the restaurant looking good.

They are also working overtime to hire staff, especially for the back of house.

“We have blasted social media, Instagram and tags on our website for people who can drop in and we’ve done 3 or 4 craigslist ads for the past 2 or 3 weeks,” said Tyler Hadfield.

For now, the brothers are prepared for working long days.

“Yesterday we did 14 hours, realistically 12-14 hours we’ll be here for first 2-3 weeks,” said Cameron Hadfield.

Down the road at La Bella Vita, they are hoping to use their new bar at some point for the first time soon.

“I think we are gonna be full at 4:30 and we are gonna be full till 10 every single night – just gotta try to get everyone in here its gonna be a great great summer,” said owner Chuck Konner.

Questions still remain about future COVID restrictions and guidelines, make it tough to plan ahead for staffing.

They might not need multiple bartenders now, but if the state eases restrictions occupancy they will have to find some fast, a challenge on the Cape right now.

“If we don’t have one now, it’s not like we can keep one on standby, then at that point everyone is going to need a bartender, everyone at every restaurant in town, so getting the few out there is going to be really tough,” said Michael DiSabato of La Bella Vita.

One thing is for certain, the Cape is hiring.

“We need as many people we can get on the Cape, can you get housing? Anybody who needs a job come down, I can get you a job at any one of 10 restaurants. I have 10 restaurants right now looking for cooks, chefs and all different things,” said Konner.

For those visiting, a reminder that sunscreen won’t be all that’s needed this summer.

“I am hoping COVID-19 has taught us to be a little bit more patient, because this summer we are gonna need it,” said O’Connell.

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