The weather is warm now and everybody is ready to head north, even though most businesses are excited to be active and doing business again, with the huge labor shortage it will be a big challenge. As Covid winds down merchants are expecting the surge to start during this Memorial Day weekend. With vaccinations doing well in Michigan and people feeling safe to travel they think it could be a record breaking year for business.
“It’s going to be a busy summer. It’s great to see our economy rebounding,” said Lisa Peacock, public health director for the Benzie-Leelanau Health Department and the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, which covers Emmet, Charlevoix, Antrim and Otsego counties. Last summer, the big challenge was keeping tourists and local residents safe amid a pandemic with a range of public-health restrictions. This summer, the availability of vaccines has eased health concerns but the hospitality industry is grappling with the unexpectedly rapid rollback in restrictions as well a shortage of workers.
Restrictions are going away so fast they are scrambling to be ready for the rush. Currently some restaurants are not open for lunch or are closing a couple days a week due to a shortage of help. Some are worried that many that left the hospitality business during the pandemic are not coming back, as they may have already changed their line of work.
If you are planning on traveliing to northern Michigan make sure you get confirmed reservations in advance, and above all be patient. Also when going to venues try and plan your visit during non peak times. One thing you will see for sure this year in many places, is more tourists and less people to wait on them.
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