North East hospitality business have been trying to recruit new staff members as they head into what has been predicted as one of the busiest seasons for the industry yet.
Tourism towns in the North East braced themselves this weekend for an onslaught of Melbournian visitors, eager to escape the city after lockdowns and restrictions.
But Bright Demu cafe co-owner Rebecca Crawley said though the tourists would spend money and stimulate the local economy, she was actually reducing the business's operational hours because she couldn't get enough staff to cope with the demand.
"As a result of the difficulties in finding accommodation [for staff locally] and the new restrictions on employees requiring double vaccinations, it has put a lot of pressure on us with our workforce," she said.
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"So we've had to reduce our hours, so we're not opening on the weekends at the moment and we're advertising for staff.
"If we don't have the staff then it puts too much pressure and I feel like it's safer for us just to close our doors."
Ms Crawley said the hospitality industry, especially in touristy areas like Bright, typically relied on transient workers and backpackers to fill worker gaps, but due to COVID-19 that hole had been left wide open.
She anticipated her staff shortages would get worse as the state opened up more and COVID-19 entered the Bright community, causing workers to isolate and miss shifts.
"Last summer when it opened up there were queues outside the doors, so we're expecting that again," she said.
"We're a social enterprise cafe as well, so we've just been trying to make sure that we can still train the young people we're working with and we also make frozen meals for people in need.
"So we've just been focusing on that rather than serving the public.
"Unfortunately for us that means it's harder for us to survive because being a social enterprise we still need to have an income to be able to do the programs that we run."
Beechworth's Billson Brewery has taken a different approach to staff recruitment ahead of what they predict will be one of their busiest summers yet - on Saturday the business held a job fair.
Team member Alison Lloyd said they were aiming to hire 30 more staff members to be able to keep up with the expanding business.
"We will be moving from a 5-day to 7-day operation in our Taproom, Cellar Door and Speakeasy from late November onwards," she said.
"We are also anticipating a hugely busy Summer, with lots of people from the region and further away wanting to catch up with friends and enjoy a drink in the sunshine."
Ms Lloyd said Billson's was hoping to catch up on time lost during lockdowns and restrictions.
"It's a great opportunity for us to make up on business," she said.
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