TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Arizona Restaurant Association is weighing in on our new mask-less world.
President Steve Chucri says the pandemic took a toll on many restaurants.
About 31% of small businesses in Arizona, closed last year.
Many of the restaurants were burdened by the overwhelming cost of going to takeout systems.
Chucri says now that social distancing has eased and masks are being phased out, the industry is facing a new challenge.
"I know that our restaurants are pleased to get back to their daily practice of welcoming people into their dining rooms and doing what they do best, creating a great cuisine and great fare. I would be lying to you if I said we had no worries this labor shortage is a huge, huge concern," Chucri says.
He is referring to the massive shortage of workers who left the restaurant industry and have chosen not to come back.
Restaurants say they're struggling to serve customers because of the shortage.
Many former restaurant workers are posting online that they're not going back because of poor conditions and bad pay in the industry.