VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— This is the first tourism season after the pandemic as the World Health Organization recently declared that COVID-19 is no longer a “global health emergency.”
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Oceanfront businesses are looking to put the pandemic behind them as summer approaches. With Memorial Day being the unofficial start to summer restaurants are looking forward to the crowds.
As tourists and locals wrap up their fun-filled memorial day weekend, restaurants on the Oceanfront, like Quirks are taking advantage of the holiday travel.
“Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, that’s our business down here,” said Tomas Carroll, Quirks’ manager.
Carroll says with steady business comes big bucks.
“We got four to five months to make our money here, and then in the off-season, there’s nobody here,” Carroll said. “We rely on every single person that comes down here.”
Carroll said he’s looking forward to normalcy this summer. However, ongoing staffing shortages caused by the pandemic continue to be an issue.
“They’ll apply all day but they just won’t come in,” said Carroll.
Some locals found that dining out in recent months has often come with the new reality of waiting a bit longer.
“It’s like an hour-long wait for some of the restaurants here, and we’ll just move to a new one if it’s too long,” one beachgoer told News 3’s Kelsey Jones
Traveling from Chicago to the Oceanfront, one family says restaurants they’ve been to including Quirks met the demands of the holiday weekend.
Quirks has two locations in the Resort City—one in Town Center and the other at the Oceanfront. Carroll has taken to job sites like Indeed to hire more workers.
Carroll says a lot of staff stayed with the restaurant during the pandemic, while others sought new opportunities. It’s not stopping them from preparing now for the busy summer season.
“It’s not always easy but you just try and find people to fill in the gaps and you just get through the day,” said Carroll.