LEWISTOWN — By now, it’s no secret that some businesses, both regionally and nationally, are struggling to hire enough employees at least in part because of the pandemic. As of Monday, that struggle includes the community pool in Lewistown.
"I think we need at least 20 people on staff,” said pool manager Mary Kepler when asked about the minimum number of staff needed to open the pool. Kepler said as of Monday, only about half that many applications had been submitted.
"Truly, it is the heartbeat of central Montana so we really want it to be opening and functioning,” said Kepler.
If the pool can't open, or even if the opening is delayed, the impact could be huge. Kepler said people come from far and wide to use the pool, generating business for places like gas stations and restaurants in the community.
"One summer, we were keeping track of people that were coming to our pool and we had, probably, patrons here from at least 48 different states,” Kepler explained.
In small towns like Lewistown, small businesses are the backbone of the community, making the struggle that businesses are having finding enough employees all the more impactful.
"I know the restaurants are looking for people. As the tourism increases, they're going to need more staff,” said Jo McCauley, director of the Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce.
McCauley said businesses are doing what they can and she was confident the town would be alright. "I know that several businesses have increased the hours for the employees that they that they do have,” said McCauley. "But, I think it's heavy recruitment on the student level. School's letting out, so that'll be a bit of a boost, not completely but we'll make it."
The pool is scheduled to open the first weekend in June. Click here to visit the Facebook page.
Lewistown Parks & Recreation director Jim Daniels: