Pittsburgh restaurant owner closes up shop due to post-COVID labor shortages, moves to Montana

A Pittsburgh restaurant owner blamed COVID on Wednesday after he was forced to close his doors due to a persistent labor shortage and other economic problems rooted in the pandemic.

Cafe Raymond owner Ray Mikesell joined “America’s Newsroom” to discuss the issues he has faced and why he has decided to close his business as a result.

“They just beat you down, so much that … I don’t have the fight to fight them and try to stay open and hire people,” Mikesell told co-host Dana Perino. “It’s been…almost three years, and I just don’t have it in me at this point in my life. I have a passion for what I do, but I just want, I don’t want to do it this way. No more.”


Mikesell blames the pandemic for many of the struggles he faces as a business owner today, citing labor shortage struggles as demand continues to rise.

Mark Woolhouse, of the UK's Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling (SPI-M), rejected the UK's latest lockdown as trying to "keep this up for another six months" with the vague hope that a vaccine will be widely available.

Mark Woolhouse, who is part of the UK’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling (SPI-M), dismissed the UK’s latest lockdown as trying to “hold it out for another six months” in the vague hope that a vaccine will be widely available.

“It changed the world, the work ethic for everybody, a lot of young people,” Mikesell said. “I’m pulling my hair out, I can’t hire anybody. It doesn’t matter what you pay them or anything like that… anybody I hire, they’re going to quit in two days.”

“A lot of people think I’m not busy,” he continued. “I’m busier than ever with a third of the staff, and there are times I have to close while we’re open during prime business hours. I closed for 20 minutes because we ran out of plates, silverware, everything, coffee cups.”


Mikesell said he will be moving his business to Montana in hopes of finding a fresh start for himself and his family.

“I get angry when I talk about it because I invested my life in this,” Mikesell said. “But it’s at this level, it’s not worth it. It just falls on deaf ears when you talk to people.”

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