ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A University of New Mexico professor is delving into the profound impact the pandemic has had on restaurant workers. Even as restrictions ease up, restaurants continue to operate at diminished capacity.

For instance, in New Mexico’s yellow tier, they can only fill a third of their indoor dining space which means they simply can’t maintain the staff they once did. Sociology Professor Eli Wilson points out that could have lasting effects on the industry as workers who can, are increasingly pivoting to new career paths.

Those whose circumstances prevent them from doing that, continue to struggle. “For instance, in the back of house, we’re dealing with a lot of individuals with lower education, disproportionately people of color, and they’re seeing their hours cut, they’re seeing their families affected,” Wilson said.

Wilson just published a book exploring race, class and gender inequalities in the Los Angeles food industry.