Restaurants survived worst of pandemic but face new challenges

Business is mostly back to normal for many local restaurants as government officials relax pandemic restrictions, but some say they're struggling to hire employees.

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May 28, 2021 - 3:33 PM

Carri Sailor, who owns Rookies Sports Bar & Grill with husband Mike, said business has picked up as more people are vaccinated and feel comfortable returning to restaurants, but it’s been difficult to hire staff. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

A year ago, several local restaurant owners worried they might have to close permanently because of coronavirus restrictions that shuttered their businesses for weeks.

But they survived, thanks to federal relief programs and adaptations like offering “to-go” orders, curbside pickup and delivery. 

Now, with the CDC and state and local leaders relaxing mask mandates, they’ve mostly reported business is back on a more normal footing. They like some of the new services, and most want to keep options for delivery and curbside pickup.

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