At the height of the pandemic, when restaurants and other businesses deemed “non-essential” were consequently closed and staff were temporarily laid off as businesses tried to pivot, Chicory Cafe and Taphouse on the Edge co-owner Jeff Morauski aimed to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

“We had to get through this, it’s not going to be like this forever and, hopefully, get back to normal,” he said. “That was the conversation for a year and a half, and for the most part, we are back to normal.”

As the vaccine rollout expanded, mask mandates relaxed, hospitalization rates began to decline and the stimuluses allowed for more disposable income, consumers began to consume more.

But though business may be back, many local businesses are still not operating at their full capacity, mostly due to lack of staffing.

And that light at the end of the tunnel has become bleaker for owners like Morauski.

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