ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Restaurants in Bernalillo County can now offer indoor dining at 25% capacity for the first time in months. Some restaurants admit it will be a struggle to take this next step because of the preparations needed and the uncertainty of how long the county will stay in the yellow.
Garcia’s Kitchen off Central and Laguna is one of a couple of popular restaurants that say getting enough staff is their biggest hurdle. “We try to bring people back and then if they close us down again, it’s just hard to know what we’re doing,” Garcia Kitchen Co-Owner Dan Garcia explained. “We’re going to see what locations we could open, just depends what employees we can get.”
Still, they’re pushing forward. Garcia says they need up to 50 more staff members, including servers, dishwashers and cooks for any of their six locations. He hopes the busier locations could open by Monday, ready to welcome an extra 40 diners inside. He will likely have to reconfigure or get rid of their makeshift drive-thrus, like one off Coors and La Orilla.
Meanwhile, Tomasita’s off I-25 and Jefferson is more optimistic it can open indoor dining to bring in about 80 more customers as early as Thursday. “It takes a lot of cleaning and dusting and making sure that chairs are six-feet apart and it takes a lot of people to make this work,” Tomasita’s Manager Dolores Welk-Jack stated.
Welk-Jack said they’ll be keeping an eye on the state’s color dashboard. “We all have to work harder at getting those numbers down. They are down but we need to get to a point where we’re open and we stay open,” she said.
They’d still like to hire about 10 more staff members. They plan to continue offering the outdoor dining tent with heaters, as well as delivery services like Doordash and Grub Hub.
Counties in green can have 50% capacity indoors and 75% outside. Four counties moved to green on Wednesday.