In Saguenay, many shops have decided to close their doors during the construction holidays, despite the tourist traffic. The labor shortage is once again in question.
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These two weeks allow employees a recovery period, but also the opportunity for some companies to catch up on the backlog due to staff shortages.
“In April I was almost alone, although I usually have five production staff,” explains Justin Maltais Photo owner Jean Maltais.
The only long-time employee is 77 years old and the one who could take over the management of the company, which was founded in the 1960s, is already working more than 12 hours a day.
“She is ready but she needs support to move forward,” said Mr Maltais. I’m willing to give a few more years, but you never know what can happen.
This is the first time he has had to close his shop during the construction holidays.
“We are closing to customers but are continuing to work to finalize deals that should already have been finalized. We have to catch up, he said. It is sure that in such situations it leads to dissatisfaction, but in general the customers understand because they too often experience the same thing.
Several restaurateurs have also decided to close during the holidays.
These closures are widely welcomed but are disappointing for some tourists.
“It’s been 3 or 4 times that we’ve had to turn back because the restaurants have been closed since we started our holiday,” said one of them.
The employees of these companies are satisfied. Such is the case of Marc-André Tremblay.
The one who works as a chef at the Resto Roberto in Chicoutimi had no vacation planned, but he wants to take advantage of it.
“I’m so used to working non-stop that I thought I’d find a job somewhere else for two weeks, but I ended up taking a vacation,” he explained.
Closing is not a choice, but a necessity, according to the chef.
“We are not machines. We are working hard to make up for the understaffing but at some point the Corps will reach its limits,” said Mr Tremblay, who believes this trend will continue.
The restaurateurs who decided to close during the holidays last summer have also decided to repeat the experience in 2022.