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El Paso restaurants, hotels grapple with labor shortages ahead of border reopening

EL PASO, Texas -- Just weeks away from the United States reopening its border with Mexico, many businesses in El Paso are eager to welcome foreign travelers but some are still struggling with labor shortages.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, many industries were broadly impacted including tourism, hospitality, retail and restaurants.

The president of the EL Paso Hotel and Lodging Association told ABC-7 that the hotel industry is still struggling with major shortages, but they are optimistic for border restrictions being lifted.

Marco Ortega explained that “a lot of the business for a lot of our hotels comes from manufacturing in Juarez, so if there is no travel back and forth - it does hurt the business in a negative way.”

Ortega said that many of his colleagues were happy to hear that the border would be reopening.

Ortega added that it will be difficult to measure the impact of the border reopening, but they look forward to taking advantage of the opportunity. 

“It’s additional occupancy and additional revenue dollars that are going to be coming into our hotels, so I mean especially with our busy season coming up as far as shopping - it’s going to be good for the hotel economy here in El Paso,” he said.

The general manager of the Great American Steakburger restaurant on Mesa Hills said they still need to prepare for the big reopening day.

Victor Aguilar said that because of the pandemic they are still struggling with staffing shortages and at times are forced to close during the week.

“We need to get more prepared, we need more staffing. We need to be able to sustain our guest volume,” he said.

Rosemary Montanez



  1. The government needs to instigate a policy similar to as Capt. John Smith of 1607’s Jamestown succinctly put it, “He who does not work, neither shall he eat.”

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