Shrimpers and restaurants are still feeling the pressure from COVID-19

Restaurant closings are making it tough for seafood producers. The pandemic is affecting local shrimpers in the long-term.

Malfitany Pasta Company in McAllen, Texas is going through what nearly every full service dine-in restaurant is going through-- rough times. That means they do not buy as much from farmers.

The restaurant manager, David Martinez, states, “Our sales are going to be half of what they were last year, which means we’re buying half of what we were buying last year.”

When asked if business is coming back, he stated, “A little bit. Still a lot of restrictions on us with the six foot distance rule. So, technically we’re 75 percent capacity, but really we’re not more than 50 percent because we have to leave tables open with the six foot distancing rules.”

We noticed it has a certain item on its menu that is common in dishes served at these Italian restaurants-- shrimp. This means it is something the Texas Shrimp Association is paying close attention to.

According to Andrea Hance, with the Texas Shrimp Association, “You know there’s a lot, obviously a huge relationship with restaurants. Especially those restaurants that choose to serve quality products and locally sourced and sustainable... we’re just trying to all work together because we understand that they’re under a lot of stress right now, and obviously going through financial issues and just like we are. So, we all have to work together to make it through these hard times.”

Martinez has one request for everyone watching: “Get out and support local businesses! The chains are always going to be there, but the local guys, the ones that employ local community and they do a lot for the community.”

Hance, who has seen these restaurant closures, has something to take on to that request.

“Make sure that you know that shrimp is the number one consumed seafood in the United States, and go ahead and order that shrimp, and simply ask the waitstaff or the manager what type of shrimp it is and where it comes from,” she adds. “Just so you know what you’re consuming and just so you know that you’re supporting an American industry.”

It is simple: when restaurants do well, shrimpers do well!


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