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Local Hospitality Businesses Look To Fill 1,000 Jobs Fast


Restaurants and hotels around Jacksonville are struggling to find employees as business starts to ramp up while vaccination rates climb. So business owners are teaming up to host a multi-location job fair across Northeast Florida next Tuesday, May 18.

Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Regional Director Nicole Chapman said on Tuesday's First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross that most applicants aren’t showing up for the job interviews they schedule with local businesses.

“We’ve got about 1,000 jobs just in our area in the hospitality sector - jobs open that we need to fill. You’ve probably noticed some restaurants are having to close certain days to give the employees they do have a break, and some hotels are having to shut down rooms because they don’t have enough housekeepers,” Chapman said.

It's a problem for service industry managers across the country, partly because many workers who were laid off or left restaurant jobs during the pandemic have found work elsewhere.

The Northeast Florida Hospitality Job Fair is being held at the following locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18:

Fernandina Beach

Atlantic Auditorium at Atlantic Recreation Center

2500 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Jacksonville Beach

Four Points by Sheraton Jacksonville Beachfront

11 N. 1st Street, Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250

Markets at Town Center

Prati Italia

4972 Big Island Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246

St. Augustine

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Saint Augustine

North 2300 FL-16, St. Augustine, FL 32084

The organizers say interviews will be conducted on site.

"If you’ve ever considered a part-time or full-time career in hospitality or food and beverage, now is the time,” said Scott Wellington, the association's local chapter president and the general manager at the Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park hotel.

All four locations will be observing COVID-19 safety precautions, meaning masks will be required indoors.

Here's a list of the employers scheduled to take part and aditional information.  

Listen to the discussion on the challenges the restaurant and hospitality industries are facing, including the full interview with Chapman, on Tuesday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross. The show also encores at 8 p.m. Tuesday on WJCT News 89.9.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.
Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.