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Cape Cod Businesses Struggling To Find Workers To Meet Surge In Demand

HYANNIS (CBS) - Business is back and strong for Alberto's Ristorante in Hyannis. But owner Felis Barreiro worries he won't have enough staff to meet the demand.

He needs wait staff and line cooks, as many as 15 more employees or he may have to alter the menu and his hours. "We may have to figure out if we close for lunch or stay open," Barreiro said. "If we don't have enough staff I'll probably have to alter the hours we'll be open."

Next door at Mrs. Mitchell's gift shop it's all in the family. Owner Lynn Mitchell's only employees right now are her children and they're working double shifts. "I'm not sure why kids aren't coming in to apply but we haven't had one person," said Mitchell.

There's plenty of stock to unpack at the store which opened one month early because so many visitors are returning to the Cape with pent up demand to get out and travel.

It's now two sides of the coin according to Wendy Northcross with the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. "It's almost the perfect storm. Business is coming at us so quickly it's a scramble to make sure we're fully staffed up," said Northcross.

In Provincetown at Liz's Café, owner Liz Lovati says she's never had to close on Wednesdays. But that's what she's doing to give her employees some time off. She needs workers and fast. "Business is exploding here a little early," she said. "It's been so busy."

For Lovati and many employers, overseas workers they have relied on are not getting visas approved fast enough. At least one quarter of the Cape's 20,000 seasonal jobs are filled by foreign workers.

Finding housing is also difficult with so many rentals and accommodations already booked for the summer. "We've always been able to secure housing in some fashion. It's taking its toll this time," said Lovati.

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