EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Owners of the Corralito Steakhouse remain silent about the backlash a message posted at one of their locations received this week, but community dialogue about wages has since sparked out of the reactions the message received.

On Sunday, Veronica Frescas went to the restaurant’s Doniphan location, where she saw a message posted on all of the tables explaining the business had a staff shortage. She quickly became displeased with what she read.

Frescas posted a photo on her Facebook page, which has since gotten more than 100 shares and many comments.

“I understand a lot of us are frustrated, but there could’ve been a better way to say something,” said Frescas, who captured the sign in a photo. “We’re still all in this together and, for something like that, it didn’t seem like it was very El Paso strong.”

The sign reads: “Sadly, due to government handouts, no one wants to work anymore. Therefore, we are short-staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did choose to come to work today and remember to tip your server. They chose to show up to serve you.”

Frescas pointed out that the restaurant had received more than $1 million in federally backed loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

Dialogue over wages and employment sparked as more El Pasoans have seen Frescas’ post and as Texas looks to opt out of extra federal assistance for unemployment this week. The decision means unemployed Texans will have $300 less to count on.

Leo Duran, of the Texas Restaurant Association, said local businesses are competing with large chains that are offering higher wages. He said wages do need to increase, even if it is by a little.

“If you’re going to survive, you’ve got to compete and wages are really the baseline of what employees are interested in,” said Duran, president-elect of the Texas Restaurant Association. “Just trying to shake off this pandemic and realize that we’re going out of it; let’s get back on our feet and get back to work.”

Duran said restaurants anticipated to see more applicants when Gov. Greg Abbott announced Texas would opt out of federal assistance for unemployment on June 26. He said there has been an increase in applicants in the last several days, but they hope to see more people by August.

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