WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The El Mariachi Mexican restaurant shut down as part of the statewide protest of the Florida's pending tough immigration laws.
When it re-opens, co-owner Victor Prado said he will be working 12-hour days, six or seven days a week.
"We have to do everything, because we don't have employees," said Prado.
In the last two weeks, four El Mariachi workers told him, they had to leave the state. So, they had to leave their jobs.
"They had been working for like three years, because they liked their jobs," Prado said. “It was emotional, because it was not easy for them, and it was not easy for us."
Not easy for Prado, who in addition to managing the restaurant, now, doubles as its cook.
Co-owner Stefany Galvez usually works a full-time job at as a cosmetologist and part-time at El Mariachi as its bookkeeper.
She now works longer days a server and bartender.
"I have to clean the restaurant, too, because the cleaning people are leaving," Galvez said. "So, I have to do everything,"
Stefany's husband, Bladimir, owns the barbershop next to El Mariachi.
When his shift is over, he goes next door to the restaurant and becomes the dishwasher.
"The dishes guy, he's leaving, Bladimir said. "He told me, 'I need to go. I'm scared here in Florida."
The trio opened El Mariachi five years ago.
Before state lawmakers passed a series of immigration laws this spring, the restaurant was recovering from the pandemic slump.
Now, with employees leaving, El Mariachi's owners said they're understaffed, overworked and have no end in sight.
"It's hard to find the workers," Prado said.