Is the Triad Ready For Lifted Restrictions On June 1?

Hayley Fixler
Fox8 News
April 27, 2021

North Carolina is getting closer and closer to making it to the June 1 proposed date that Governor Roy Cooper has set to hopefully reopen.

That means restaurants, businesses, venues, and attractions are gearing up for an influx of people who want to finally get out of their homes.

But are they ready for it?

There’s a big problem many business owners and managers tell FOX8: staffing shortages.

In Greensboro, Print Works Bistro is operating at a 50% capacity.

They have dozens of jobs open, but so far no one is filling them.

They need servers, hosts, managers, and more.

“We’re setting out to recruit 60-70 enthusiastic folks to join our team,” said Jessica Mashburn, with Quaintance Weaver Management. “It is a lot of people.”

The company owns Print Works Bistro, Green Valley Grill, Proximity Hotel, and Lucky 32.

They’re in desperate need of people to come work for them and soon.

“We’ve needed less people with our capacity needs, but now as restrictions are lifting, we’re going to need more folks to be able to return to the pre-pandemic operational levels,” added Mashburn.

Getting back to normal is harder than she thought.

“We’ll just continue operating at the capacity we can, to provide the highest quality,” said Mashburn.

At the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, management is planning on sticking with the 40% capacity for now, even if restrictions change because they need more help.

“We do want to open up, so more people can enjoy the Zoo and get back to having a higher capacity, but we do have to hire a lot of staff to get there in order to have everybody be safe here in the zoo and to get all of our entrances open,” Guest Services Director Jamie Merchel said.

She said they have 50 positions open.

So far, they’ve received the lowest number of applications ever.

“Everybody is hiring,” Merchel said. “Everywhere you go, people are doing on-the-spot interviews and having hiring events.”

She’s hopeful with the perks they offer, they can get new hires on board soon.

“Passes for friends and family to come here to the zoo, discounts of food and the gift shops,” Merchel said.

She wants the park fully staffed so it can be filled with families and friends, when it’s permitted.

“We will work efficiently with what we have,” Merchel said. “Our goal is to just make sure everybody is safe and has a memorable experience when they come here.”

There will be a job fair at the North Carolina Zoo on Wednesday, April 28 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Solar Pointe Picnic Shelter.

If there is still a shortage of applications, management has discussed the possibility of adding extra incentives to encourage people to want to work for them.