After Covid struggles, Latino restaurants welcome Cinco de Mayo and more customers

After Covid-19 struggles, Latino restaurants welcome Cinco de Mayo and more customers. - @NBCLatino

5/5/2021 11:59:00 PM

After Covid-19 struggles, Latino restaurants welcome Cinco de Mayo and more customers. - NBCLatino

Latino restaurant owners and employees who saw steep losses due to Covid-19 hope to see more business as vaccinations increase and restrictions ease.

more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments in the United States closed for business — temporarily or permanently — last year and nearly 2.5 million jobs were lost. Sales in the restaurant and food-service industry fell by $240 billion in 2020 from an expected level of $899 billion.

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Safety measures including bans on in-person dining caused many restaurants to shift to curbside pick up. Shifts in guidelines for food service caused the permanent closing of restaurants by the end of 2020.“Restaurant owners have been telling us that relying on take out and delivery-only will mean cutting staff as much as 90 percent,” Lilly Rocha, chair of the Latino Restaurant Association, said.

For restaurant employees still working or for those coming back to work, there's also the safety issue.“We’ve worked hard to push for a vaccine rollout to target areas with workers in key sectors like the food industry," said Christian Castro, with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which represents a large portion of culinary and food workers. headtopics.com

The federation has administered nearly 8,000 vaccine doses to workers and their families in Los Angeles County, going to areas where many food workers live, such as Pico Union, and partnering with institutions such as Cal State Los Angeles.Castro noted that reports surfaced within the union of undocumented workers that were scared that providing information for vaccinations would result in deportations. “We try to let everyone know that this vaccine is for everyone," he said.

At La Chupería in Los Angeles, the key to opening up and celebrating, especially for Cinco de Mayo, has been staying on top of shifts in guidelines for businesses and on vaccinations. Read more: NBC News »

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