Cape Cod businesses hope for busy summer as supply chain, housing remain a challenge

Restaurants and other businesses that thrive on the summer travel season are hoping for a return to normal after two summers of the COVID-19 pandemic. But supply chain problems are still happening in some cases. The Lobster Pot in Provincetown received only one-third of a recent order of onions. (Jennette Barnes/CAI)

With warmer weather right around the corner, Cape Cod businesses are getting ready for what they hope will be a busy summer season after two years affected by COVID-19.

Everywhere you turn on Commercial Street in Provincetown, people are sprucing up their buildings or setting up outdoor seating.

Lobster Pot manager Shawn McNulty said he’s praying for a good, safe season, but he’s still seeing some minor disruption in the supply chain.

“You know, we ordered three bushels of onions last week. We only got one,” he said. “It’s, like, ridiculous — we’re talking about onions. Things like that.”

Last summer, shops, restaurants, and nightclubs went into the season hoping for a return to normal. But the outbreak of the Delta variant put a damper on some of it.

At the hardware store on Commercial Street, Lands End Marine Supply, they’re ready for whatever comes, said Denise Page, the office manager.

“We don’t really know what to expect this season,” she said. “ I think we’ve learned to expect the unexpected. … We’ll prepare for it to be a great summer, and hopefully we’ll have everything stocked.”

Supply chain problems at the hardware store have been mostly solved, she said.

Meanwhile, finding enough employees, and housing for them, remains one of the biggest challenges for employers.

“We rented two houses already, for the staff,” said William Garcia, owner of Helltown Kitchen, a Provincetown restaurant entering its fourth summer.

Providing housing is the only way most employers can operate, he said. “That’s our biggest challenge right now, for everyone in town.”

Listen to the audio version of this story at CapeandIslands.org.

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