Buffalo-area restaurant owner points to federal financial assistance as reason for staff shortage

New York State

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Local restaurants continue to be plagued by the pandemic’s effects. Many say they simply cannot find enough workers.

That includes Athena’s on Young Street in Tonawanda.

Athena’s recently had to cut hours because of a staffing shortage.

Last March, Athena’s had 65 employees. When the state allowed restaurants to reopen at limited capacity — their staff was just half that.

Athena’s owner blames this on the government giving out too much financial assistance.

“They already helped the people. They helped us and we appreciate it. But now it is time to go back to work. It’s like everybody is looking for help. Restaurants, produce people, U.S. foods, every company — construction. And nobody wants to works because they make more money by sitting around,” said Owner Paul Kouvoutsakis.

Economists say other factors play into the labor shortage, however.

Many Americans still fear coronavirus and are choosing to stay home.

The U.S. Census reports 1.4 million fewer mothers are working now than last year due to the lingering effects of unprecedented childcare obligations, something that’s affected women more than men.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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