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SAN DIEGO – Belmont Park is ramping up hiring for the busy summer season but running into the same labor shortage faced by many local companies as the economy emerges from the pandemic.

To entice more candidates, the Mission Beach amusement park is putting a $20,000 cash bonus program on the table. Ideally, the park would hire 150 people, but General Manager Steve Thomas says the pot will simply be split between whatever number of eligible employees they’re able to bring on board.

“If you come down and work 300 hours between June 4 and September 4, you get a pool of that $20,000,” Thomas said. “If it’s one person they get $20,000.”

The park is set to fully reopen along with the rest of the state June 15. In the wake of the pandemic, it’s not the only business finding it hard to staff back up.

Economists believe many workers decided to simply stay home during the worst of the pandemic for fear of getting sick or their place of business getting shut down.

That’s given them time to explore other opportunities while collecting extended unemployment benefits. Some may choose not ever to return to hospitality. Others may simply feel more comfortable shopping around for the right situation, experts say.

Genine Wilson, the global vice president of the Kelly Outsourcing and Consulting Group, says it won’t be uncommon for employers to offer incentive programs like Belmont Park’s given the competitive climate. The same practice is already being seen at San Diego hotels.

“Employers who are not typically willing to look at wage increases, sign-on bonuses, or the additional perks or flexibility are going to have to look at that today,” she told FOX 5.

To apply for a position at Belmont Park, you can visit their website.