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Mikuni Sushi closes indoor dining areas throughout Northern California

COVID-related staffing shortages have forced Mikuni — a local restaurant chain — to make some hard decisions.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The restaurant industry continues to be one of the industries the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hardest.

COVID-related staffing shortages have forced Mikuni  — a Sacramento area restaurant chain — to make some hard decisions.

Kotaro Arai better known as "Taro" is among Sacramento's most colorful and well-known chefs. But not long after a New Year's Day post, the once vibrant scene in his family's restaurant changed as he and his team had to make the painful decision to simultaneously close locations throughout Northern California to indoor dining.

"Our managers were struggling, exhausted physically as COVID hits again and then we lost our help right and left and mangers were working past 2 every night and it wasn't working and getting less help," Kotaro “Taro” Arai, owner of Mikuni said. "We had no choice but start closing."

He added that despite closing they are still hiring in all capacities. 

On Wednesday, Mikuni's announced that they'll be extending their takeout only policy through Jan.17

Despite the hard decision, in true Taro style, he insisted on leaving with words of positivity.

"Every time it comes, stay strong. Look at it opportunity, what can we learn from this? How can we improve? The past two years, we have lost so much and that was a way to learn and find better success — a better future!" Arai said.

Watch: California makes it easier to hire teachers as many districts struggle with staffing crisis

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