Owner: Lack of willing workers forced closure of Fairfield’s Blue Cactus Grill

A Connecticut restaurant owner says a lack of willing workers has led to some difficult choices for his businesses.
Victor Amereno told News 12 that he was spread too thin and couldn’t find workers for his Blue Cactus Grill. He has no choice but to close his Fairfield location. The restaurant in Norwalk will stay open.
“We literally had to shut the door on a thriving small mom-and pop business,” says Amereno. “The Fairfield location was open 2 1/2 years.”
He tells News 12 a brutal labor market is to blame, and he believes some potential workers would rather collect unemployment.
“I spoke to everybody who would listen…begging for help,” he said. He was willing to hire anyone, regardless of their past – but he says he couldn’t find the help he needed.
“Every time I went into a grocery store, I would talk to the cashier…'Hey, do you know anybody looking for a job?' I would go to a gas station and say, 'Hey we are hiring,'” says Amereno.
Across the state, the demand for workers is spiking in a number of industries. The Department of Labor says help wanted ads on its site were up 61% in June. Hospitality postings climbed 24% in the week before July 4.