During year of recovery local restaurants still face COVID-19 struggles
Reports say more than 1 million people in Texas were employed by restaurants before COVID-19, now that number has dropped by nearly 136,000.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Local restaurants continue fighting to stay in business more than a year into this pandemic.
Although COVID-19 restrictions have loosened up and vaccinations are rolling out, business owners like Tai Lee say he’s still concerned.
“Everyone has their own issues. We have our own issues in terms of not having enough staff to serve all the guests we want to‚” said Lee.
Reports say more than 1 million people in Texas, were employed by restaurants before COVID-19, now that number has dropped by nearly 136,000.
Brazos Valley Restaurant Association President, Blake Zeitman says despite things looking normal, it’s far from it.
“To take a hit for 13 months is astronomical, which is why you’re seeing so many closures and so many people struggling in Bryan College Station,” said Zeitman.
Lee says despite the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions, patrons still aren’t back in full force.
“It’s not fully 100 percent yet. There are still a lot of guests who haven’t come back either because of their advanced age or pre-existing conditions. The restaurants are not back like they used to be pre-pandemic,” said Lee.
Zeitman says while some are struggling to find employees, others are struggling to pay them.
“It was wonderful to have that help but PPP did not cover nearly what it was taking to stay open, to retain employees you know, these are things that operators have had to deal with themselves,” said Zeitman.
Lee says the best thing they can do, is to continue making customers happy.
“We can only control what we can. We’ve just got to continue having excellent food and service and hopefully, people will come back and continue to support our businesses,” said Lee.
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