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

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A Pittsburgh restaurant owner blamed COVID Wednesday after he was forced to close his doors due to a persistent labor shortage and other economic woes 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 anymore 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 anymore at this point in my life. I have a passion for what I do, but I just want to I don’t want to do it this way no more.”


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

Mark Woolhouse, who sits on Britain’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), dismissed the UK’s latest lockdown as trying to “stick this out for another six months” in the vague hope a vaccine will become widely available.

“It changed the world, the work ethic for everybody, a lot of young people,” Mikesell said. “I pull my hair out, I can’t hire anybody. It doesn’t matter what you’re paying them or anything of the sort… anybody I do hire, they quit in two days.”

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


Mikesell said he will relocate his business to Montana in hopes of finding a new beginning for himself and his family. 

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

Bailee Hill is an associate editor with Fox News Digital. Story ideas can be sent to [email protected]