CHICAGO (WLS) – Now that Chicago is about to reopen completely, the hospitality industry is desperately looking for people to work.

Many hotels in the city and across the country are struggling to find enough staff to meet the need to reopen.

“It’s a labor shortage at all levels,” said Bob Habeeb of Maverick Hotels. “It’s not just housekeepers, bartenders and waiters, there’s a lack of managers too.”

Habeeb said when the hotel industry stalled in 2020, workers couldn’t afford to wait for hotels to reopen.

“For example, I spoke to someone who had been a manager at Hilton for a long time and she told me that she worked for Amazon,” he said.

Many left industry or even the state.

“They went to Florida, Texas, Tennessee or Wisconsin where other markets stayed open during the pandemic,” said Adam Gurgiolo, general manager of Hotel Monico.

According to Gurgiolo, household and restaurant staff are still the greatest need right now. The Sable Hotel on Navy Pier is said to be hiring employees looking to raise wages and benefits. Right now, the Sable pays housekeepers between $ 20 and $ 23 an hour.

While some companies use financial incentives to attract employees, the Fifty / 50 restaurant group mandates the vaccine for all employees. When the company made the announcements, applications were received.

“We feel ahead of the curve and feel good at staffing our spots,” said John Aldape.

Whatever it takes to get employees back, hotels and restaurants are in a hurry. Owners and managers predict a record breaking summer with so much backlog to finally get out and have some fun.

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