YORK COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – Businesses are more than ready to re-open after the COVID pandemic, but as things return to normal more and more employers are finding they are short staffed. Industries from restaurants to entertainment all impacted by the shortage.
Heading into the summer months, more businesses are eager to re-open. Many just missing one thing enough employees. Rock Hill Parks, Recreation and Tourism, noticing a shortage in lifeguards.
Rock Hill Parks, Recreation & Tourism’s Garnet McKeown, saying, “We are looking very much forward to opening our pools. Unfortunately there is a nationwide lifeguard shortage and our company that we contract with to run our pools, Trident Pools, has not been able to hire enough lifeguards.”
The City of Rock Hill contractor hires up to 50 lifeguards to cover all four city pools, but haven’t been able to meet the mark. Rock Hill PRT leaders saying the company is now offering incentives to find employees.
“Sign up bonuses, hourly bonuses, free uniforms you know some combination of all of that in order to get enough guards hired — they are offering that,” says McKeown.
City of Rock Hill leaders say as their employment contractor hires enough people to cover all four city pools, they’ll be ready to re-open. Other industries also noticing a shortage in workers some even having to scale back on hours.
Christopher Johnson with Pump House in Rock Hill, says, “Well we’re definitely understaffed, yes. I mean we would love to be open seven days you know we would love to be able to deliver the experience that we pride ourselves on. You know our challenge is just that we don’t have the full team in place.”
Because of staff shortages leaders at Pump House in Rock Hill, have chosen to close the restaurant on Mondays and Tuesdays, during June. Operating with just 70% of a full team leaders say it was important that the staff didn’t feel over extended.
“We’ve been like many places struggling to build on our staff. Business has been great which is awesome and you know we love the support we’ve been getting from the community but we want to make sure that we are not wearing everybody out. Giving everybody a chance to be off and focused on those five days. The goal is to continue to staff up the restaurants over the next four weeks — reopen July 5 for seven days,” says Johnson.
Carowinds re-opening its doors for the summer season and the park’s leaders raised starting rates, hoping to get more employees in the door.
Lisa Stryker, Communications Director with Carowinds, saying, “Yes we have recently raise star starting rates to $15 an hour for associates, and that’s on top of all the great perks that they get.”
Raising those from $10 to $13, Carowinds leaders say positions are available throughout the park. They’re looking to hire on around 500 more associates to meet demand for the upcoming season.
“Well I do want to mention that a lot of the people that work here are not necessarily the youngest people. There are lots of people who are grandparents and parents who want to work flexible schedules so there’s opportunities for everyone here,” says Stryker.
In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with employers around the Tri-county County about how the shortage is impacting re-openings.