Halifax job fair addresses staff shortages brought on by COVID-19

The Halifax Hospitality Hiring Fair comes at a time when demand for workers is still rather high in many sectors.

According to the website for the job fair, no previous experience is needed to apply, and resumes are preferred, but not required. Successful applicants will be hired within 48 hours of the fair.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said the wave of COVID-19 restrictions that caused restaurants and bars to open and close repeatedly brought long-term damage to businesses.

“People in the hospitality industry were pounded,” said Savage, who added restaurants, bars and hotels are scrambling to bring staffing back to pre-pandemic levels.

“The fact that we are growing as we are and some people have jobs in tech industries and other things makes it even more difficult for our hospitality folks,” said Savage.

Luc Erjavec from Restaurants Canada told CTV News there are still more than 7,000 job vacancies in restaurants and bars in the Atlantic region alone.

“This industry is always starving for people,” said Lil MacPherson, who owns the Wooden Monkey restaurant.

According to MacPherson, the pressure is enormous to keep her restaurant fully staffed while navigating factors beyond her control.

“We will staff up for a big weekend and then it will rainstorm,” said MacPherson. “Or there will be a COVID-19 scare and we will send people home and then we have all this food.”

MacPherson said finding a pathway to survive because of staff shortages is now more difficult than ever before.

The Halifax Hospitality Hiring Fair takes place from 3 pm to 7 pm Friday and 10 am to 3 pm Saturday at the Halifax Convention Centre.

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