La Goulue partner Hassan El Garrahy, who owns three restaurants in New York, argued on Monday that stimulus checks and extended unemployment insurance have made it challenging to find qualified workers because "they don’t have to come to work."
He stressed on "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" that it has been "difficult to find reliable, qualified staff" to work at his New York City restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic due to the government handouts - or because, he said, many workers moved to Florida where the economy has fully reopened.
"I lost half of my staff to Florida," Garrahy noted.
He also expressed concern that the staffing issue will become worse as restaurants in New York reach full capacity.
"I’ve lost some of my staff, good people, that relocated - or some are afraid to go out because of the pandemic - so it’s very difficult to find people, and my partners and I were filling in the gaps; but now, when we open, full capacity, I wonder, [is] the crisis just going to be increasing."
As of last month, indoor dining was allowed to increase to 50% capacity in New York City.
The National Restaurant Association noted that according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eating and drinking establishments added 175,800 jobs in March on a seasonally-adjusted basis. However, employment is still 1.8 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels.
Garrahy pointed out that it has been "a very rough year," and called the staffing situation a "problem."
"Right now you have people that apply and then when [the] time comes for them to show up to work or to be interviewed, they don’t show up or they work and they quit," he said.
Garrahy added, "How do you expect someone, [if] they’re being paid $1400 a week, plus the unemployment insurance, to want to come back to work? It’s very difficult."
He pointed out that he and his employees have been "working overtime to fill in the blanks."
"It is not easy," he stressed.
The New York Post reported that out-of-work employees in New York can receive $805 a week between New York State Unemployment Benefits and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.