Anchorage restaurants continue to persevere through staffing setbacks brought on by COVID-19

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 9:09 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Bars and restaurants have been one of the hardest-hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, from shutdowns to staffing struggles.

On Tuesday, popular downtown Anchorage restaurant Ginger had to shut down because it didn’t have enough staff due to COVID-19, according to owner Matt Gill.

“I want to say at least 75% of our staff was out with COVID within a span of a week, a week and a half,” Gill said over the phone.

Despite the latest staffing setback, Gill said their crew numbers were in a good place after a difficult summer of finding workers.

“It was tough for sure. I mean, I know I washed dishes for a good two-week period this summer,” Gill said. “Which was actually quite enjoyable, a little chance of pace. But yeah, it was just doing whatever needed to be done to make things work.”

The award-winning Asian fusion eatery isn’t the only place in Anchorage battling staffing issues. Popular pizza spot Moose’s Tooth announced on Facebook they were only open for takeout from Jan. 7 to 13 due to low numbers.

While the staffing situation hasn’t been easy for Gill and other restaurant owners the past two years, the 2022 job forecast numbers from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development gives those in the hospitality industry hope.

“Leisure and hospitality were expecting it to gain the most jobs this year which is your bars and your restaurants, your hotels and entertainment,” said state economist Neal Fried.

The forecast expects Alaska’s leisure and hospitality industry to make a 13.5% jump and recover 4,000 jobs.

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