Pandemic causes Jersey Shore communities to have trouble hiring seasonal workers

As New Jersey reopens following the COVID-19 pandemic, some Jersey Shore communities say that they are having trouble finding workers to fill seasonal positions.

News 12 Staff

Jun 18, 2020, 2:50 AM

Updated 1,398 days ago

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As New Jersey reopens following the COVID-19 pandemic, some Jersey Shore communities say that they are having trouble finding workers to fill seasonal positions.
The managers of Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant Beach say that they cannot find the staff to fill some of their open positions. The amusement rides and arcades are closed, but many of the boardwalk games and food stands have opened.
“It works for now, but in the event that we do start opening up more, we’re going to have a problem,” says Jenkinson’s HR director Chris Stewart.
Jenkinson’s typically employs 1,400 to 1,600 people in the summer. But this year it is only around 700.
Stewart says that Jenkinson’s will usually hire around 100 international workers on J-1 visas, but travel restrictions and embassy closures have eliminated this option. They also rely on indoor job fairs, but those fairs have been reduced due to indoor occupancy limits.
Seaside Heights is also dealing with similar challenges. Mayor Tony Vaz says that seasonal employees currently make more money on unemployment than they do working in the community.
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“We need people cleaning streets, we need people on garbage. We need people cleaning bathrooms, we need municipal help. Right now, we can’t get these people,” the mayor says.
Some towns are offering incentives like higher pay or more time off. Seaside Borough leaders say that they are hiring third-party companies to bring in more workers. Jenkinson’s plans to spend this weekend scouting new employees on the boardwalk.
Communities leaders also say that they attribute the lack of available workers to people choosing full-time work over seasonal work and a fear of exposure to the coronavirus.
 


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