Lifted restrictions can only do so much for short-staffed business in Lake George

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LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – In a normal year, Sal Ianni recruits some international workers looking for second jobs to help staff his Italian restaurant, Mama Riso’s.

This year, there aren’t enough of them for him to find the help.

Ianni faces the same problem as virtually every seasonal business in the area this summer. Sure, Gov. Cuomo lifting COVID-19 restrictions on their places of business is a great prospect, but putting the rest of their tables out isn’t going to help much while they lack the staff to wait them.

Gina Mintzer at the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce says that’s the main obstacle for business right now, but that many events are seeing the bright side of the change.

Events like the rodeo and this weekend’s Jeep festival in town now have the potential to do away with certain protocols, including masks and temperature checks.

That’s already happening further down Route 9 at The Great Escape. In a statement, park spokesman Jason Lee said, “Reservations, temperature checks, and social distancing are no longer required for our guests. It is recommended that all unvaccinated guests and team members continue to wear masks while visiting or working in our resort.”

Mintzer said that one thing that wouldn’t change in the village was the way that the coronavirus pandemic has pushed businesses small and large to update their reservation systems, streamlining things and more fully embracing the internet in some cases.

She also pointed out that Lake George is already nearly fully booked for the summer at hotels, and this change will likely help some stragglers decide to come to town.

And at Mama Riso’s, Ianni says he’s seen strong business in the first few weeks of the season, including some regulars who have spent too long away.

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