MESILLA, New Mexico - Ahead of the historic Virgin Galactic launch on Sunday, the owner of La Posta restaurant in Mesilla said he doesn't have the staff members to serve the influx of visitors to the Spaceport.
"Our staffing is limited," said Tom Hutchinson, the owner of La Posta. "We have challenges. We're going to do the best we can to accommodate what we envision to be a much larger crowd this weekend."
New Mexico restaurants may be allowed to operate at 100% capacity, but Hutchinson said he only has the staff to serve 60% of the restaurant. Even after pandemic-era restrictions were lifted in July, he said he has struggled to bring servers back to work.
"We're significantly challenged by lack of staffing," Hutchinson said.
Beginning next week, unemployed New Mexicans who return to work are eligible for a $1,000 supplement from the state. They must return to work by Aug. 28.
New Mexico's unemployment rate in May 2021 was 8.0%, according to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. It was higher than neighboring Colorado (6.2%), Texas (6.5%) and Arizona (6.7%).