The hospitality sector in NSW is scrambling to reopen on Monday following the state’s easing of restrictions.
Jim Kritsotakis is the owner of waterfront restaurant Limani at Narrabeen and says his restaurant is facing a stark staff shortage.
“The first Saturday we open I have 60 people booked, and I could have taken more,” he tells the Sydney Morning Herald.
“But I only have three kitchen staff and two waitstaff fully vaccinated, and unless I get more workers I will have to cancel bookings.”
Mr. Kritsotakis has taken extraordinary measures to fill his restaurant with fully-vaccinated bar, kitchen, and waitstaff.
“We have advertised twice and on Gumtree, it has cost us over $600,” he said, “and I only had one email back”.
The shortage could make or break Mr. Kritsotakis’ business.
“We do lunch, dinner, and we have a cafe underneath… I already have 100 bookings for Christmas day, but it depends on how many staff I have at the time.”
The public health advice from the NSW Government says that “businesses will be responsible…to stop unvaccinated people entering premises”, which includes unvaccinated or half-vaccinated staff.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that 80.3 percent of hospitality workers are aged 15-44, the same age bracket that was the second-last eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
“I know the government has to do the right thing,” said Mr. Kritsotakis, “but for me, one vaccination should be enough as long as they have their second one booked”.