ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The worst of the COVID pandemic is behind us, but the impact it had on local restaurants is still visible. Many restaurants ended up closing their doors, and those still open are struggling. 

Rory Miranda is the owner of the cafe, Empire Board Game Library in Nob Hill. He says he’s seen many restaurants close. 

“Yeah, I think it’s pretty sad and you can see the effects here in Nob Hill, there’s a lot of places that are closed, thankfully, a lot of places are now coming back. But those places that it’s really unfortunate to see those places going out,” says Miranda. 

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Restaurant owners throughout the state were hit hard during the pandemic with some closing for good. Those that remained had hoped that with the pandemic fading, things would be back to normal. However, many owners say they just haven’t been able to bounce back. “Since the pandemic, almost all the businesses this way, and this way on Central have one out,” says Miranda. 

The New Mexico Restaurant Association reports that between December 2019 and December 2021, 1,093 restaurants have closed in the state. They say that right now restaurant owners are struggling to find staff which affects the hours they’re open for business. 

Carol Wight is the CEO of the New Mexico Restaurant Association and says owners are having to adapt in order to survive. “I’ve been actually encouraging restaurants to possibly change their business model so that they don’t need quite as many employees to do the job as they did before,” says Wight. 

The New Mexico Restaurant Association says that prior to the pandemic they had seen a growth of about 107 restaurants.