Bars in New Orleans struggle with staffing during first weekend with extended hours

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NEW ORLEANS — Drinks are flowing, food is hitting the table and closing time is finally past 11 p.m. Things are looking up for the service industry in New Orleans, but now, business owners and workers are running into new problems. With the influx of customers, businesses are seeing issues with staffing.

“We can’t find people, because nobody wants to work. People have collected unemployment and they’re getting their taxes back and it just seems people are just saying ‘I don’t feel like working, I’m just going to enjoy myself right now’,” said Brian Mullin, owner of Local 718 on Bourbon St.

Mullin says he’s been posting everywhere to find bartenders with no luck, but bar owners aren’t the only one’s struggling right now.

Jacob Donaldhoerner, a server and bartender at Bourbon Heat, says workers are also affected by the staffing issues and extended hours.

“Running out of drinks and food, you know, later on because we’re not used to staying open until 1 a.m., it’s definitely a change,” said Donaldhoerner.

When it comes to bar staffing, Donaldhoerner says folks have gotten complacent over the last year.

“Just that collecting money being easy, and they just forgot their work ethic,” said Donaldhoerner.

He says despite the longer hours and staffing issues, folks in the service industry are still working hard

“We’re hustling, we’re trying, you know, to provide and move forward in life instead of going backwards,” said Donaldhoerner.

And they’re determined to make it through the pandemic.

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