Waiting in line for baked goods at Brown Bear
As we start returning to ‘normal’, it is apparent that it is not the same normal we were in 2 years ago. As with the rest of the Country, Orcas is experiencing a labor shortage. Ours is intensified by a workforce housing shortage as well. There appears to be nowhere for summer workers to live. Jacob Linnes, who runs Island Market, mentioned that they have 15 fewer staff currently than they had at this same time period in 2019. He is hiring for every position from Manager to stock clerk.
I went out to lunch this week with friends. The first restaurant we tried had closed half their space because they were so short staffed. The second place we tried was filled to the gills, with two staff serving the entire space running as fast as they could. I spoke to the owner later and he told me they had about 50% of their normal number of staff. Roses is not planning to reopen for indoor dining and the New Leaf and Inn at Ship Bay are limiting the hours of service.
I am hearing similar tales from the preschools, construction crews, and elsewhere. We are stretched mighty thin. It is time to double down on our patience and make sure we are all tipping well, as the stress is already high and we are only in the beginning of July.
Or maybe follow my friend Will’s example. He is a retired lawyer and has recently signed up as a dishwasher at the Tavern. He figures he likes to go there and they need a hand, so he stepped up. You never know where your next career might be!
If you are interested in rowing, Orcas Island Rowing is having their annual meeting tomorrow (Sat July 10th) at 9 am at their Boat House on Cascade Lake. They invite you to join them to learn more about their program (open to rowers 13 years old and above).
The San Juan County Council will hold a public hearing on the vacation rental moratorium and possible extension on Monday, July 12th at 9 am. You can listen to the discussion and sign up to speak here.
Hope you have a great weekend,