Tourist season is ramping up in Southern Rhode Island but, for local hotels, the news is not all positive as an industry-wide staffing shortage is making keeping up with the increased demand incredibly difficult. Despite a recent move by the state to allow many who return to work to collect the federal unemployment benefits and earn more money before losing some portion of their state benefits, local hotels owners, managers and industry experts said the situation affecting the industry is “exceptionally dire right now.” “South County is the perfect embodiment of this perfect storm,” Sarah Bratko of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association told The Independent this week. With that in mind, do you believe Rhode Island should do more to encourage the unemployed to return to the work force? Let us know in this week’s poll question below.

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