PALM BAY, Fla. — Hiring issues have hit one Palm Bay diner so hard they had to shut down for a day. The few employees the owner has just didn’t show up.
"My dishwasher called me, said he couldn't come in," Izzy's Diner owner Isela DeArmas said. "Then my waitress called me, said she was sick. Then I called another one, didn't answer the phone. Then I called another one, didn't answer the phone."
May 10 is a day DeArmas won’t soon forget.
"I put a sign on the door telling people I was closing, crying all day," she said. "I've been doing this 16 years, and it's never happened. Never."
For the first time in all her years of serving up homecooked meals, she had to close the doors for business. She just couldn’t get enough workers to operate.
"I used to turn people away to work for me," DeArmas said. "Turn them away."
"They have the people coming in, but if you don't have enough bodies to provide the service, then you can't do it," said Palm Bay City Councilman Kenny Johnson, who for the past couple weeks has been visiting local businesses in what he calls the "Small Business Challenge".
Not only is he supporting them, he wants to spread the word about job openings.
According to CareerSource Brevard, clients are telling them they aren't going back to work because they need to care for their children at home. Many children are still distance learning. Others are still concerned about their safety in the pandemic.
CareerSource said they don't have statistics on why people may not be interested in hospitality jobs like ones available at Izzy's.
For now, as she works to figure it out, DeArmas says she’ll be looking for a team who wants to be there.
"I'm going to clean house, this is never going to happen again," said DeArmas.
DeArmas says the community has come through for her. One woman paid for everyone's breakfast Tuesday morning, and left $100 to pay for more meals. She also says her doors will be open from now on.