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Mellow Mushroom closing reflects industry-wide trend

Mellow Mushroom pizzeria in Delray Beach on July 7, 2021.jpg
Posted at 2:26 PM, Jul 07, 2021

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The news of Mellow Mushroom pizzeria closing permanently in Delray Beach is taking many people by surprise.

It would seem the restaurant is another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic and its after-effects.

"It's a bummer," said Tate Irvine.

On a visit from Minneapolis, Irvine and his wife were hoping to go in Mellow Mushroom on Wednesday.

"This was our lunch plans for the day and then head down to Miami," Irvine said.

The sign on the door at the Delray Beach restaurant was disappointing: closed. Referring to industry-wide staffing issues, it's something that Irvine said he’s heard before back in Minnesota.

"Have the same thing up there and every restaurant we’ve been to is the same deal, everyone is stressed out short-staffed," Irvine said.

Many say it’s the pandemic aid in enhanced unemployment benefits keeping workers on the sidelines. But here in Florida, that aid is gone and experts said there’s more going on.

"It’s an individual decision, what wage is sufficient," said Dr. Siri Terjesen at FAU's College of Business.

Terjesen said some workers have reason to be hesitant to go back, such as child care, while others have moved on.

"I just had lunch with former student and she’s telling me her brother has set up a company doing some really neat stuff in Miami that he might not otherwise thought of. And so the prospect of returning to a nine to five job is a little, potentially less interesting," Terjesen said.

Terjesen said another factor is child care, which may not be back at pre-pandemic levels and may also be keeping workers on the sidelines.