As vaccination numbers rise, Middle Tennessee restaurants look to hire

five points pizza west nashville
Posted at 12:15 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 13:15:07-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As Tennessee's vaccine rollout continues, some restaurants that have been struggling over the last year are once again looking to hire new employees.

In Five Points Pizza's empty dining room it's easy to see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We've been doing carryout for most of the year," said Jonathan Rainville, Five Points Pizza's operating partner. "I think this last year has been trying and difficult to say the least."

But in the last few weeks, Rainville has felt a change.

"In the last few weeks, when vaccinations have been rolled out, we've definitely seen more people out and about," he said. "We're definitely excited to get back to some semblance of normalcy."

That normalcy will soon include the restaurant reopening its dining room, and to do that - it needs more workers.

"Hiring is the main obstacle for us to reopen," Rainville said, calling it an obstacle because they aren't the only place hiring. "It is difficult, there are a lot of people that are looking to hire right now."

He says with more people getting vaccinated, more shops and restaurants are able to expand their capacity - and that means more job openings across the area.

"I can only imagine other restaurants are going through similar things," he said.

It's not just Nashville - the most recent Tennessee unemployment numbers are at their lowest since March of 2020. So after a year of pandemic closures and restrictions, restaurants say a hiring problem is a welcome change of pace.

"It's very exciting," Rainville said.