Staffing shortages remain as Al Fresco dining in gets underway on Federal Hill
PROVIDENCE (WLNE)– Al fresco dining was back on Federal Hill Friday evening for the third straight year. The now annual tradition started as an answer to the restrictions of the pandemic.
“Al fresco dining was our first reaction to COVID 19 and how we deal with it,” said Michael Constantino, manager of Constantino’s Venda Bar on Federal Hill. “Now, it’s really turning into something that is wonderful for Federal Hill and all of Providence.”
On one of the biggest days of the year, Constantino said that staffing shortages remain a constant concern, like many other restaurants.
“We’re probably at 80-85% staffing at the moment. We ask our customers to just have some patience with us, we are not at optimum staff levels yet. But, we are trying to get there,” Constantino explained.
According to the Federal Hill Commerce Association, there are currently close to 400 open positions amongst Federal Hill restaurants. That includes 80% of the businesses, including Constantino’s Venda Bar.
“Ever since we came out of the pandemic, it’s been very hard to stay at optimum staff level, but we’re doing our best,” said Constantino.
Parking for the event included close to 1,000 spots consisting of valet parking, as well as parking lots along the Hill. Drivers had to pay for both options.
“It was much easier to walk over than drive because the street was blocked off,” said Kerry Mahon, a visitor from Philadelphia.
“I anticipated the valet for Constantino’s which is great, but I’ve tried to park here in the past and it’s always a time,” added another Venda customer.
Atwell’s Avenue will open up to normal traffic beginning at 2:30 Saturday mornings.