Restaurants feeling the pressure of the omicron variant

Reporter: Andrea Guerrero Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
IceHouse Pub. Credit: WINK News

Restaurants across Southwest Florida are suffering as the omicron COVID-19 variant spreads rapidly. Some have even had to shut down due to staffing shortages as employees get sick.

One of the restaurants that had to close its doors is the IceHouse Pub in Punta Gorda.

The pub survived wave after wave on COVID-19, but on Monday, John Berry, the pub’s owner said he had to close. He locked his doors for the day because of one sick employee.

“That one person close down our kitchen, which then affects the entire business,” said Berry.

Berry knows every employee is key to keeping the restaurant open for business, so he’s letting customers and his employees know that after Monday’s shut down if another employee becomes sick, the restaurant at times will only be open at reduced capacity.

Berry said, “Well it certainly hurts.”

Picking up shifts and working long hours is what many servers and cooks are used to, but this time it went beyond that. Berry’s wife had to jump in to help.

“Tuesday. I believe in order to keep the kitchen moving and not shut down again she went in all day and became the dishwasher and she helped prep,” said Berry.

It had to be done if they wanted to keep the restaurant running and keep their loyal customers coming back.

Berry said opening with limited capacity is a decision they had to make, but that doesn’t mean they wanted to. “Just be understanding of the fact that we’re not trying to do it. Just be patient, we’re trying to do everything possible.”

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