▶️ Businesses plan for busy weekend with staff, product shortages

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With labor shortages and supply chain problems, Memorial Day weekend crowds could lead to even more struggles for local businesses.

We checked with several tourist-oriented businesses to see whether they’re ready for this weekend.

COVID restrictions and mandates have made this past year a roller coaster for Deschutes Brewery’s downtown pub.

“One of the biggest problems we are facing now is staffing,” said Tim Casinelli, general manager of Deschutes Brewery downtown. “Staffing both the kitchen and the front of the house is an issue right now because there’s not a lot of applicants.”

With COVID restrictions easing, the brewery can host diners indoors at 50% capacity but that’s nearly enough to satisfy everybody who wants a beer and a burger.

“Last weekend we had our busiest day since last summer, on Sunday of all days, which was kind of odd. We had a wait of over an hour,” he said. “Everybody’s being patient. The guests are being very good about being patient and still following the rules even though a lot come from places that have different rules.”

Staffing is not a problem at Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe in the Old Mill District but not having enough boats to rent and sell is.

“It has been a challenge all year and now. It is hard to find equipment for retail and for rentals and for our classes,” said Sue Fox, director of sales and marketing.

Tumalo Creek Kayak is adapting to the equipment shortage by encouraging customers to reserve in advance.

“It helps disperse the crowds. It helps our operation run smoother because it keeps the crowds from forming,” she said. “We learned a lot last year with the COVID restrictions and mandates.”

Deschutes Brewery is throwing money at their staffing shortage.

The brewery is offering $1,000 bonuses for new kitchen staff and a second bonus to new hires who work all the way through Labor Day.

“There are 8.1 million jobs available in the U.S. right now which is a record so, we’re not alone,” Casinelli said.

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