As we continue to get back to something closer to normal after dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year, the pandemic’s effects are still being felt among local businesses. You will find “Now Hiring” signs in a lot of businesses that need help as more customers begin to file in on a regular basis.

Among the hardest hit businesses have been restaurants. If you have been to a restaurant or drive-thru recently, you have likely had to deal with some long lines and wait times that you didn’t have to worry about before the pandemic.

Restaurants are doing the best they can under the circumstances, but staff shortages have forced them to make changes they don’t want to make. Some have had to alter the hours they are open and even been forced to close an extra day during the week because of staffing issues.

This is a problem for obvious reasons, especially in the Isles as the summer tourism season starts kicking into gear. Demand will only increase as we get closer to the July Fourth holiday weekend, which could draw more people than before the pandemic given how many are looking to travel now that it is safer to do so.

That’s why the Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce and the county’s Convention and Visitors Bureau are taking a proactive measure to let people know about the current plight of the hospitality industry. They have combined for a campaign called Take the Golden Pledge, which asks people to be kind, patient and generous to our local hospitality workers.

While this message is something that should be kept in mind year-round, it is especially important right now as our hospitality workers are facing a dual crush of high demand and low staffing. We encourage everyone who interacts with hospitality workers to remember the situation they are in. It may take a little longer to get your food but considering the circumstances, please be patient and kind to the staff who are working hard to keep up with the increased demand.

We also encourage anyone who is in search of a job to get back into the workforce. If you are still afraid of COVID-19, we encourage you to get vaccinated. Just two shots in the arm is all it takes to protect you from the virus.

If you would rather take the government aid over rejoining the workforce, know that the aid won’t last forever. You will need a job once it is gone. Why not take advantage of all the openings there are right now? There are plenty of people looking for people ready to work. Strike while the iron is hot and help out your community in the process.

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