HONOLULU (KHON2) — The ongoing COVID case spike is causing worker shortages across the state. Some restaurants have had to temporarily close after employees tested positive.

One restaurant owner said, the issue goes beyond staffing.

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“With the new year, I think the reality of the omicron variant has really opened up a lot of people’s eyes,” said Steven Matsuno, vice president and general manager at Dada Salon, Spa & Café.

“Plumbers, electricians, delivery people have all had their challenges as well, and that’s trickled down to us getting serviced.”

Steven Matsuno, Dada Salon, Spa & Café

Matsuno said, finding the right workers for the job is the biggest challenge.

“We’ve looked at how we pay people, what kind of benefits we offer, from A to Z, we’ve kind of had to take a look at that,” Matsuno said. “But more importantly, just finding them.”

Staffing shortages spiked with omicron, according to Staffing Solutions of Hawaii, but there are options for job seekers.

“We’ve really just been inundated,” said Staffing Solutions of Hawaii general manager Nicci Olds, “everything is urgent and everything was needed yesterday. Every industry is hiring right now, so you know, there is something out there for everybody.”

Sheryl Matsuoka with the Hawaii Restaurant Association said, patience will be key for eating out in the next few months.

“So don’t be surprised if the owner of the restaurant, the general manager or supervisor takes your order or you see them bussing tables. After the holiday season, we’re always in our shoulder period. So this is when we really need our community support during these next three months.”

Sheryl Matsuoka, Hawaii Restaurant Association executive director

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