From the police officers providing security to the cooks preparing Alaska dishes, employees throughout Kenai and Soldotna are stretching their work weeks to accommodate the athletes and spectators arriving to participate in the Arctic Winter Games.
Soldotna Police Department officers, who are helping provide security for the event in addition to their usual duties, will be logging up-ward of 24 to 30 hours of overtime during the Games, said Sgt. Robbie Quelland.
Nearly all officers will work at least two to three additional 12-hour shifts, he said
The food industry also is gearing up to tack extra hours onto employee schedules.
Lyndsay Gordon, head waitress at the Duck Inn in Soldotna, said although she already works overtime, she expects her shifts to stretch a little further into the night during the Games.
And Gordon won’t be the only one working overtime at the restaurant.
“The cooks will definitely get overtime,” she said. “We’re having our cooks come in a little earlier so we can be prepared for whatever volume of people comes in.”
Bill Harbke, a cook for the restaurant, said he expects his usual 40-hour work week to climb to 50 hours during the Games.
But the employees are not grumbling about the extra work shifts, Gordon said.
“Everyone’s more than willing to put in the extra effort,” she said. “We’re all really excited about breaking up the monotony of winter.”
Some employers, however, are hesitant to ask their already stretched staff to put in additional hours.
“We’ve warned everyone,” said Bob Wallace, co-owner of The Moose Is Loose in Soldotna.
Wallace said his employees already work overtime regularly and he has not yet asked them to work more hours for the Games, but there is a good chance he may need to.
Hiring for the bakery has not been easy, since unlike fast food employees, it can take as long as two years to train someone to bake from scratch, he said.
“We’ve got one good (baker) and we’ve stretched him to six days a week,” he said.
Wallace said he would like to be open Monday when the Games officially begin, but said the bakery will be closed so that everyone can have at least one day off.
At Kaladi Brothers Coffee, however, staffing is unlikely to be a problem if the coffee house decides to extend its hours, said Leila Mitchell, a barista at the coffee house.
She said the business may be brewing plans to stay open until 9 on nights that it would normally only stay open until 7, in which case employees would be asked to work additional hours.
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