Surge in COVID cases leaves businesses with major staffing issues throughout Michigan

‘Hospitality took the biggest beating,’ business owner says

Businesses across Michigan are facing major staffing issues due to the spread of COVID.

DETROIT – Some businesses around Metro Detroit could not open their doors to consumers on New Year’s Eve due to a staff shortage.

Today, Jan. 3, some McDonald’s locations have added a help wanted note alongside serving their food to entice the frequent customers to join the understaffed franchise.

“I do not think there is any question, and hospitality took the biggest beating in terms of being able to retain people who they had prior to the pandemic,” said Tom Brady of Jim Brady’s Detroit.

It has been nearly one year since Jim Brady’s in Royal Oak and Ann Arbor have been able to open for lunch due to lack of staff as people who couldn’t work as businesses closed during COVID shutdowns have not returned to work.

“I think that there was a change in mentality with a lot of these people when they had that chunk of time that broke the reality that they knew where it was just like ‘this is what we do’ routinely,” Brady said. “I think it completely changed that, and I think a good chunk of people went to another line of work that were in leisure and hospitality.”

You can see and feel the lack of staffing across Metro Detroit.

Some bars and restaurants could not open over the money-making holidays because they didn’t have the staff, even on New Year’s Eve, while other establishments only have enough people to open for dinner hours.

No matter the establishment, ranging from hospitals, health care, and airports, there continues to be a shortage of staffers.

“I think we are going to get to that point where we get through the spring, summer, and fall seasons again where everybody is not crept up inside,” Brady said. “The number of people that have either been affected, infected, vaccinated is just going to be to the point where I think it’s called endemic; where it’s around, but we can work through this.”

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.