Amid holiday weekend, Federal Hill business owners struggle to find staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) –The Federal Hill Columbus Day Festival is an iconic tradition that Rhode Islanders know and love. While the 30th annual festival brings traction to the hill, businesses are feeling the heat and trying to keep up with minimal staff.

Rick Simone, President of the Federal Hill Commerce Association, said the festival is a boost for businesses who have felt the damaging impacts of the pandemic. Supply chain and labor issues have made it difficult for businesses to stay afloat.

We’re struggling to find labor to staff our businesses,” Simone explained. He noted there are nearly 400 open job positions on Federal Hill currently. 

Over at Bacco, owner Armando Bisceglia is often seen running in and out of his kitchen, serving customers and trying to lessen the load for his small staff.

“It’s the norm for me, as an owner,” he said.

Bisceglia noted the business is there, but the staffing is not.

We’re still shorthanded…we still can’t go at full throttle because we just don’t have the people. And, people don’t want to work.”

Simone said Federal Hill is working with the state to create job opportunities to help restaurants and their owners.

“We’re trying to be super creative in how we approach things, but we’re working with the Department of Labor and Training and Governor McKee’s Office to come up with new plans.”

Categories: News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island