The world is reopening. Texas is getting back to normal, and people are getting back to work.
Well, sort of.
As we return to a sense of normalcy here in Lubbock, you may have noticed that it sometimes takes longer to get a table at your favorite restaurant. A lot of people are simply chalking it up to the fact that people are ready to be out and about and are overwhelming restaurant staff.
While there's a considerable amount of truth to that, another theory being floated is that a lot of wait staff during the pandemic had to find other things to do for a living as restaurants closed their doors and/or reduced capacity, and now eateries are scrambling to replace those workers.
According to a story from KCBD, some restaurants have had to reduce their hours from a full schedule to just five days a week to accommodate the lack of staff. Even though they're allowed to fully reopen, some restaurants still keep tables closed -- not for social distancing, but due to the fact that they simply don't have the manpower to seat everyone. That leads to longer waits.
Joe Keller, owner of Triple J Chophouse, said in the story that stimulus payments and increased unemployment is also part of the issue.
"Why would they want to come to work and sweat and get dirty and do their job when they can stay home and make the same amount of money? I think the stimulus and the unemployment’s really hurting our economy a lot," Keller told KCBD.
Other local restaurants say they too feel the pinch of being short-staffed, partially due to the number of new restaurants that have opened and reopened recently. These places are also staffing up, diluting the job pool.
The bottom line is this: if you want to work in Lubbock, there are jobs available. It may be not be glamorous, but a paycheck is a paycheck. And that's certainly better than the alternative.