Staff shortages hit businesses in Matlacha . heavily



Small businesses are being forced to change operations or close altogether. Two popular restaurants have closed and another is ending the ordering process due to COVID-19.

Blue Dog Grill and Bar is more than just a tourist attraction on Matlacha. The locals love it too. So to see folded chairs, empty vases and little sign of life is an unusual place for restaurant lovers.

Co-owner Jesse Tincher, who has experienced a number of staff shortages, said his decision to close was not taken lightly.

“We make the decisions for us and what’s best for us, safe, health-wise,” Tincher says.

Safety is his top priority for his workers. “We have over 50 people working here, most of them are here locally from Pine Island, and you know, take care of them, make sure they’re safe and healthy,” Tincher said. speak.

Tincher says that every one of his employees is more than just an employee. They are his family. “Most of the people who work my nights, a lot of my nights and those that I have, high school kids, college kids, and I call my kids, I love my kids, ” I said.

So instead of serving the usual crowd, they’re catching up on the paperwork. That includes Tincher and his skeleton crew, whoever feels good enough to come work, clean, and organize.

This is the second shutdown he has had since the pandemic began. The closures have hit Tincher the hardest in the past two years since he opened the bar seven years ago.

However, Tincher believes it’s better to close temporarily than permanently. “So sacrifice the short-term for the long-term goals,” he said.

There is no set date for when Blue Dog can reopen.

Olde Fish House Marina in Matlacha said it will be closed for a week to allow staff to recover. And Miceli’s Waterfront Restaurant said it stopped serving for the same reason.

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Aila Slisco

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