DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Marianne Baker was sitting with a potential employer Wednesday. She's been out of work the entire pandemic.
"I had a job right before the pandemic hit," she said. "I had just lost that one and then I was doing house cleaning and things like that, and then the pandemic hit and everybody was on lockdown."
Baker and others were at a Florida Food and Beverage Workers Association job crawl.
"We have 10 interview stations that represent over 50 South Florida restaurants from West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and everywhere in between," event organizer Paul Dudley said.
At one station there's Bru's Room Sports Grill. Travis Cox said the well of employees in his industry has completely dried up. He plans to hire on-the-spot qualified candidates.
"If I get two qualified candidates, I'll consider today a success," he said.
Then there's Rachel Horn, who represents Rocco's Tacos, Elisabetta's and City Oyster and Sushi Bar. She said the hospitality industry has gotten very competitive.
"There are a lot more restaurants looking for the same employees than before," she said. "It's now very much an employee market where employees can shop around and sort of find the best deal."
Baker said she's ready to get back to work even though she's a bit concerned with the rise in positive cases of COVID-19 in Palm Beach County.
"I myself have been vaccinated," she said. "So I want to protect myself. I also want to protect those around me."