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Some restaurants at Orlando International Airport remain closed due to lack of workers

WFTV Orlando logo WFTV Orlando 8/25/2021 Jeff Deal, James Tutten
people standing in a room: The struggle for businesses trying to find employees is being felt at Orlando International Airport. © Provided by WFTV Orlando The struggle for businesses trying to find employees is being felt at Orlando International Airport.

The struggle for businesses trying to find employees is being felt at Orlando International Airport.

Some of the businesses, especially restaurants, are having a hard time attracting enough employees.

Some of the restaurants at OIA have remained closed since the pandemic started, and airport travel took a major hit.

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Travelers in the food court area wanting something to eat will see some of the restaurants are open but others, including Firehouse Subs, Auntie Annie’s and Cinnabon, are not.

“We went to Disney World,” said traveler Shakira Jenkins. “Took my daughter for the first time.”

Jenkins said it’s clear from an amenities standpoint that the effects of COVID-19 are still being felt.

“There’s a lot of restaurants and stores and stuff that’s closed and like the lines for the restaurants are extremely long because it’s not so many that you have a choice to go to,” she said.

Photos: Orlando International Airport throughout the years

It’s an issue airport board chairman asked about last week. The short answer is businesses are having a difficult time finding people to work.

“It’s probably the most difficult challenge,” said airport Chief Administrative Officer Yovannie Rodriguez. “The airport’s having that challenge our businesses and partners are having that challenge. The rental cars are having that challenge. Everybody’s having that challenge.”

Rodriguez oversees concessions at the airport and said they’ve been working with airport partners and hosted several jobs fairs.

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Last month, Host Marriott Services sent out a release saying, “with travel quickly approaching pre-pandemic numbers, HMS Host, world leader in travel dining, is actively hiring over 300 team members.”

With passenger traffic numbers up to 85% of what they were pre-pandemic, 100% of the businesses are supposed to be open by Sept. 1.

For now, the airport is trying to ensure some choices are available in each area while understanding the staffing issues.

See more in the video above.

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