The White Sands in Point Pleasant Beach features 127 rooms, two swimming pools, a spa and beach access, putting it perfectly situated for visitors desperate to travel after being holed up during the pandemic.

But the hotel is in dire straits. It has eight employees. It needs at least 12 more. And workers are nowhere to be found.

“I really can’t get anybody to work,” said Christina Ranuro, the general manager whose family has owned The White Sands for 30 years. “I’ve raised my starting (wage) from $12 to $13 to $14 to $15 to $16 an hour. And people just don’t want to come to work.”

The Shore’s tourism industry, scaled back last year due to the pandemic, is cranking back up — starting this Memorial Day weekend with the unofficial start of summer.

COVID restrictions have eased. People are vaccinated. And consumers after a year of wearing masks and keeping their distance appear ready to blow off steam.