Expect slow service, long waits as NJ restaurants reopen for summer

Lifting of COVID-19 restrictions bittersweet as labor deficit plagues restaurants

People going out to eat should expect long waits to be seated and slow service, potential results of a critical labor shortage that’s got the restaurant industry starved for cooks and servers.

Critics claim that laid-off workers won’t return as long as they can collect the extra $300-per-week federal pandemic aid — and that some even want to get paid cash under the table in order to keep collecting checks. But after the employment roller coaster they’ve suffered during the lockdowns and restrictions of the pandemic, many former restaurant workers are apparently seeking more stable, better-paying jobs.

And, according to Gov. Phil Murphy quoting his labor commissioner, “There is zero evidence — study after study, report after report — that the enhanced benefits are keeping people out of the workforce … There are a whole host of other factors: lack of child care or access to child care, schools not being fully back in person, people being flat-out concerned, afraid to get back into the mix.”

WATCH: NJ rules force waitstaff to become ‘mask police’

MORE: New mask rules for NJ: Check the details here