FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Staffing shortages are hitting the restaurant industry, from not having enough workers in general to workers being out sick with COVID-19.

With cases still high and demand for testing higher, restaurants are feeling this wave of COVID-19, especially when it comes to staffing.

Each restaurant will receive 10 tests as part of the latest effort from the Fresno County Department of Public Health and the California Restaurant Association to help keep restaurant workers safe and healthy.

President of the association in Fresno and owner of Papi’s Mexican Grill Raul Gutierrez says with the latest surge from the omicron variant, restaurants are seeing staff shortages and some even closing temporarily.

“We’ve probably had over 30 businesses come in, we’ve even had a lady come all the way from Selma, a taqueria, pick up tests for her business,” explained Gutierrez.

Papi’s is one of the handful of test pick-up sites across the county. He says having the tests on hand when they need them prevents roadblocks like cost, long lines at centers, and staff just not being able to find one.

The health department says they have 84,000 test kits to give out to restaurants across the county.

“We want to help you stay open and keep your employees healthy,” Gutierrez said.

Bartender and server Victoria Ponce says when lots of employees were out sick last week- they felt the impacts.

“Working extra hours, taking extra tables,” said Ponce.

She says having tests on hand should help but also wants customers to know they’re trying their best.

“Give us some patience, we know you come out for an experience whether that be a celebration or a nice meal with your family, we are trying to make a living so just be patient with us and we’ll be patient with you,” Ponce explained.

If you’re a restaurant owner and you haven’t picked up tests yet, you can find them at the following locations:

  • Papi’s Mex Grill, 1560 E Champlain Dr. #101
  • Sal’s Mexican Restaurant, 2163 Park St.
  • The Lincoln Pub & Grub, 609 E. Olive Ave.
  • Clovis Chamber of Commerce, 325 Pollasky Ave.
  • Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau, 1180 E. Shaw Ave., Suite 201