Some Golden Triangle restaurants using temporary shutdowns to relieve overworked employees during Omicron surge

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – While tables are full at restaurants like Harvey’s in Columbus, it’s a different story in the kitchen.

“We’ve definitely felt staffing shortages,” Eat With Us Group Sales and Marketing Director Jordan Tarter says. “We’ve had to shut down a couple of stores every once in a while just so we could give our team a break, and they can come back in and be ready to work again.”

Tarter says it is one of several new measures in place at their restaurants across the Golden Triangle, with Omicron COVID-19 cases on the rise.

“With the rise in cases and everything here in the past couple of months, we have had to reevaluate all the precautions again,” she says.

The Grill in Starkville had to close on Friday and Saturday.

“We just, we couldn’t handle the volume that we were going to have that Friday and Saturday,” Tarter says. “We reopened on Sunday for brunch.”

Tarter says they’ve only had to use this option about three times as a last resort when a restaurant has less than 50 percent of its staff.

“We want every guest to walk out of here happy and satisfied with what they have experienced with us,” she explained. “And so it’s hard whenever our employees are stressed out. We just want to make sure that they provide that service for them.”

However, she says the health and safety of customers and employees across all Eat With Us restaurants remain their top priorities.

“We have it set to where if you do not feel good, you do not come to work,” she says. “We want to make sure that we have our employees taken care of.”

Tarter says that the current staffing issues are not as bad as they were in 2021, and she is grateful to the community for their support.

“We thank our guests for being so patient with us and loyal to us during these hard times,” she says.

Tarter says their restaurants have a mask-optional policy and are willing to accommodate socially distant preferences for their customers.

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