DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Employers across the Miami Valley continue to struggle to find enough workers to fill countless open positions, which is affecting the ability to fully reopen after Ohio’s COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

Salar in the Oregon District is opening a second location in Centerville, but before they can begin hiring there, they have positions to fill in their Dayton location.

“It’s so difficult to find the staff and keep the staff,” Salar General Manager Brandi Perrine said.

Perrine said restaurants in the Oregon District are finding themselves busier than ever now that vaccines are out and restrictions are lifted.

However, without the staff they need, Salar can’t return to full capacity yet.

“We’re ready to get back to normal, we’re ready to bring in those tables, but yeah, staffing is definitely going to dictate how quickly that happens,” Perrine said.

Crown Personnel Services Vice President Thomas Gloady said there’s no shortage of employers reaching out to them for their job placement services.

“Everyone is looking for workers,” Gloady said. “We are getting calls from companies around town left and right.”

Gloady said employers are offering higher wages, sign-on bonuses and attendance bonuses, but it’s still not bringing in new employees.

“We’re just having trouble getting people to come to work,” Gloady said. “Starting wages increased dramatically just to try to get applicants through the door, but it’s still very difficult.”

Salar announced Wednesday that Chef Margot Blondet is opening a second location in Uptown Centerville.

“We made it through the pandemic, we were really starting to do well, so she wanted to revisit it and it just snowballed and it happened really quickly,” Perrine said.

Perrine said with the ongoing employee shortage, it will be challenge when it’s time to fully staff their second location.

“Trying to find a handful of people for one location is hard, trying to find a handful plus an entire staff is going to be very hard,” Perrine said.

Perrine said there has been an increase in applicants at the restaurant in recent weeks.

Crown Personnel Services plans to resume walk-ins starting next week, which Gloady said would bring in a large portion of their recruits.

Gloady said it could take several months before the job market returns to normal.

“I think it’s going to take some time to get those numbers up to where they were previously,” Gloady said.