By James Taylor

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — While many businesses are still struggling, there are some hopeful signs coming from local restaurants.

The industry has been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions, but now some businesses are looking to bring back workers who lost their jobs.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a statewide coronavirus lockdown last March, leaving many restaurants initially trying to survive on to-go orders, and outdoor dining has been on and off over the last year.

Zocalo’s Midtown Sacramento location lost about half its staff due to California’s COVID-19 restrictions, but now they’re starting to bring workers back.

“I need about 30 people for this location. I did 10 interviews today, I will do 10 tomorrow,” Nestor Jimenez with Zocalo said. “We’re looking for entry-level positions, mostly in the kitchen. It’s a very easy process, you apply online and we will be able to pull up your resume”

Tea Bar & Fusion Cafe is another local business adding employees.

“We are seeing more customers with the warmer weather, and so the need for hiring is up,” Lexi Bravo at Tea Bar & Fusion Cafe said.

The hiring is offering some hope to the hard-hit restaurant industry.

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“it’s a great thing,” Bravo said.

Before the pandemic, 1.4 million people worked in California restaurants, but by August of last year, up to one million of them were either laid off or furloughed.

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Now some may soon be back serving customers.

“Some have reapplied, some we are bringing back,” Jimenez said.

It’s an effort to reopen restaurants and boost the foodservice economy.

“Our industry took a major hit but we’re eager to get back on our feet and continue to staff our restaurants,” Jimenez said.

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You can find the applications for Zocalo and Tea Bar & Fusion Cafe on the restaurants’ websites.