Job opportunities still exist in Grand
One small business owner is bucking a nationwide trend by looking to fill a series of open positions at restaurants while much of the industry has been letting people go.
The National Restaurant Association has pegged losses at more than $50 billion in April alone and expects U.S. restaurants to hemorrhage $240 billion from coronavirus closures and stay at home orders by year’s end.
“The research — a survey of more than 6,500 restaurant operators conducted between April 10 and April 16 — illustrates the damage to the industry since the outbreak began,” the association reported Tuesday. “More than any other industry in the United States, restaurants have experienced the most significant sales and job losses since the coronavirus outbreak began.”
The numbers are jaw dropping. Four out of every 10 U.S. restaurants are closed, and more than 8 million people — two out of every three restaurant workers — have been laid off or furloughed.
In Grand County, though, local restaurant owner Debbie Fitch needs help, including everything from management, serving, in the kitchen and at the bar, along with people for jobs like marketing. With a family of business partners, Fitch started service at Debbie’s Drive In in Granby this January. They also run Squeaky B’s, Lulu City and Cork on the Water in Grand Lake.
With four family restaurants in Grand County and plans to soon open a fifth, Fitch is looking to bring on a number of workers, and she’s ready to start hiring right away. Experience is great, Fitch added, but some of her best workers today came to her without any beforehand and she’s willing to train.
But the question remains: How in a sea of layoffs does a local business owner come to need workers?
Fitch acknowledged that the coronavirus closures have affected her businesses and she’s had to close some of her restaurants too, but she said she is also looking for ways to continue to operate, especially with an end to business closures not too far out on the horizon. She’ll need people to help her do that.
“None of us know what our world will look like post COVID-19, but what we can say is it will look better working together,” she said of the efforts to reopen and get people working again.
And Fitch isn’t the only one with work available as the statewide stay at home order moves into “safer at home” guidelines. At WorkInGrand.com, a website administered by Grand County Economic Development, there are listings for everything from a restaurant cook and store supervisor at Sun Communities and RV Resorts to openings for janitors, housekeepers, census takers and much more.
“Census takers, that’s a big one,” said DiAnn Butler, Grand County Economic Development director.
Certainly, there are questions about how restaurants — and many other businesses — will survive on fewer in-person customers, more take out and delivery orders and new business models that have less contact than before. Many people fear a large number may never come back. What lies ahead for the restaurant industry might be bleak in the near future, but there is still optimism, and it’s showing up in some of the scattered job listings popping up in Grand County.
For Butler, one of the biggest pushes right now is getting local workers, even if they’re not currently seeking jobs, to upload their resumes to the website. Paired with the job listings, the resumes create a two-way street where employers and employees can find each other, Butler said.
The website also features drop down menus with information designed to help local businesses and people weather the pandemic, including information about local housing options. For more, go to http://www.WorkInGrand.com.
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US Forest Service officials have closed Willow Creek Reservoir in Grand County because of a potential blue-green algae bloom.