LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – While restaurant owners and workers are relieved of Governor Beshear's announcement lifting some pandemic-related restrictions at the end of the month, many are scrambling to get prepared for the return of full-capacity crowds.

A major challenge that Louisville-area restaurants will need to overcome is the staffing shortages.

Jason Brauner, co-owner of Bourbons Bistro, says he needs to hire more people.

"We're definitely hiring and looking for some great staff to come back," Brauner said. 

He's worried it could be difficult to find new employees since workers are in such high demand right now.

Owner of the farm-to-table Paducah restaurant, the freight house, Sara Bradley, says she has struggled throughout the pandemic.

"I wasn't built to operate at 60%, I was built to operate at 100%," she said. 

The Bravo's Top Chef contestant says allowing more patrons inside and outside Kentucky restaurants is not the issue.

"I love Governor Beshear and I think he's done some amazing stuff but there's a little bit of a fail there to recognize what's actually happening in restaurants so it doesn't matter if it goes to 100% capacity,” said Bradley. “You can go to 110 capacity or 120 capacity tomorrow and there's nothing that I can do to put more seats in my restaurants until the social distancing guidelines have been changed."

Indoor and outdoor businesses in Kentucky serving less than 1,000 people can move to 75% capacity at the end of the month, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

Beshear also said people gathering indoors “for private gatherings and for business” no longer have to wear a mask, as long as “100% are fully vaccinated."

Even as capacity restrictions for businesses remain at 60%, restaurant owners still find it difficult to keep up with demand.

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