Naples businesses see increase in customers, work to get employees to return

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

As we start to see a bit of normalcy in our lives return, businesses are having problems finding workers. Businesses say workers are afraid to come back to work due to fear of contracting the coronavirus.

We learned about what some businesses are doing to try and get employees back to work Thursday.

“It seems like a little better of an environment,” Nancy Welsh said. “Things are going back to a little bit more normal.”

Restaurants are getting busier. Hotels are booking more reservations, and many people have their jobs again.

But some businesses say they’re having trouble bringing employees back.

And to patrons such as Welsh, it’s noticeable when workers are missing.

“It was a horrible experience, actually,” Welsh said. “It was understaffed.”

At the Inn on 5th in downtown Naples, workers clean rooms and surfaces thoroughly. And, while Phil McCabe still has job openings at his hotel, he promises customer experience won’t suffer.

“I just this morning actually authorized overtime for my staff,” McCabe said. “I mean crazy, it is shocking to me. I never thought I’d be facing this issue.”

McCabe is trying to call back the nearly 60 people the hotel laid off.

“We’re finding that either they moved, left town or they do not want to work,” McCabe said.

Brooks Burgers in Naples is in the same situation.

“Some of them are not too eager to come back because unemployment is still taking care of them,” said Zach Arystute with Brooks Burgers.

Some businesses told us they are even paying workers to get them to return, as business increases. McCabe told us he didn’t know Inn on 5th would need its staff back so quickly. He’s surprised how busy the reservation desk is, and the hotel is at 70% capacity.

Other hotels, such as Naples Garden Inn and the Ritz Carlton, say they’re almost fully staffed again.

Collier County’s convention and visitors bureau says average hotel occupancy is at 40% currently, and many are bringing their staff back as business continues to increase.

And, a positive for everyone, they’re noticing people are spending money again.

”People have been really generous to our team as far as tips and supporting us, so we appreciate it,” Arystute said.

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