The Gilmer Chamber has confirmed cancellation of the May “Taste of Ellijay” event this week after an email was sent out with information on the decision.
According to the Chamber, “This was not a quick or easy decision to make. Taste of Ellijay is a favorite event for locals, visitors, and restaurants alike.”
Statewide staffing issues and problems in labor have attributed to major issues across the state with numerous reports on the COVID crisis, unemployment, and other issues as contributing factors.
The Chamber said that they have tried to make the event work in many ways, pursuing efforts across the county and with individual business owners.
They said, “ We spoke with, emailed, and visited several restaurants to see what assistance the Chamber could offer in helping make their participation possible and one theme was clear: the current staffing crisis has hit our restaurants especially hard.”
It is because of this that the official cancellation came saying, “We cannot in good conscience hold Taste of Ellijay knowing that less than a quarter of the regular vendors would be able to participate, nor can we ask our restaurants to stretch themselves even thinner.”
Citizens are not happy with the cancellation, voicing opinions on the current situation. Citizens like Eric Ward who said it is a “sad state we’re in,” when speaking on staffing crisis and the effects it has.
Messages of support for both the Chamber and Gilmer restaurants are also coming as some are referencing the shutdown and saying the community will adjust again.
President and CEO of the Chamber, Jennifer Grimmer just started her position this year in February and has already taken on challenges from events planning and cancellation, severe storm damage to the Chamber building, and economic and developmental shortcomings in the economy.
In early April, the successes and efforts paid off with the announcement and permit approval for the Taste of Ellijay event. Grimmer said in a Board of Commissioners meeting that Taste of Ellijay, along with the Apple Festival, would be making their anticipated return this year after suffering cancellations from the COVID-19 outbreak last year.
Now, another crisis arises, another roadblock in the path of returning to life as it was.
This has not stopped the Chamber from its job, however. They offered another comment in their statement. Supporting a community is part of what a Chamber does and their statement continues that saying, “If you love events like Taste of Ellijay, we ask that you show that love to our local restaurants. Please extend our servers, chefs, restaurant owners and support staff kindness next time you go out to eat and remember that they are facing staffing shortages, supply chain shortages, and other challenges as we approach our busy Summer season.”