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Some Kamloops, Okanagan businesses temporarily closing, adjusting hours due to staff shortages

A letter on the door of Lake Country Coffee House.
A letter on the door of Lake Country Coffee House.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Lake Country Coffee House

Faced with a lack of workers during the pandemic, some Kamloops and Okanagan businesses are shortening their hours or even closed temporarily to compensate.

Sarah Thompson co-owns Lake Country Coffee House with her husband Chris Barker. This week, the pair announced via Facebook they would be closed Mondays and Thursdays until further notice due to the lack of staff.

“We’re almost coming up to three years and I’ve never before not actually had any resumes come in. This is a really strange time that obviously has to do with COVID. I’m not quite sure what the answer really is but it seems like no one wants to get jobs right now,” Thompson said.

She's running with a skeleton crew of college and high school students.

Businesses worldwide have been struggling to find staff throughout the pandemic

“We need a certain amount of people to run the place,” Thompson said, adding she’s looking to hire more people, for full-time and part-time positions.

The coffee shop stopped seeing resumes after inside dining was prohibited back in March, she said.

There’s generally been no shortage of customers throughout the pandemic, she said.

“This summer has actually been very busy which is tricky because we have the customers coming through the doors on Mondays and Thursdays but we can’t be open because we have no staff.”

Passek's Classics Restaurant and Bakery closed for the day, Sept. 9, due to staffing issues.

“Yesterday was a one-off,” said owner Harry Passek. His son had left the job and they couldn’t work with the current staff on hand. He has a policy requiring employees to be vaccinated and his son has not yet received his shots since he is incredibly fearful of needles. He said that’s since been sorted out, "but I’m still having a shortage of staff,” he said. 

Within the last three weeks, Passek has been searching for a cook but up until yesterday, they couldn’t find one. He said they posted about the closure due to the staffing shortage online, and have since received 10 resumes.

They’re still trying to open for dinner and he wants to hire additional staff.

“That’s where my dilemma is right now, I can’t open for dinners until I get people for that and applications are slow-moving up until today where overnight we got nine or 10 applicants,” he said, adding he needs some people with experience.

“We’re looking for six or several other people now, maybe up to eight,” he said.

He believes the shortage is caused by stress due to COVID-19 in many different fields, as well as people not wanting to work as they remain on Employment Insurance.

In the 13 years he’s been in business this is the first time he’s even closed due to staffing issues.

It was a bit of different situation at Señor Froggy. While they did not struggle to retain their staff, the owner of the two Kamloops locations recognized his team was burnt out and gave them a mandatory paid week off. 

READ MORE: Kamloops restaurant staff given mandatory paid vacation to 'recharge' after stressful summer

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