Bojangles will be closing all locations for two days to give employees a “well-deserved break” during the coronavirus pandemic. Employees have been working overtime frequently due to labor shortages, and the company told the Associated Press it believes the time off will help them recharge. However, employees will not be paid for those two days. The closures will take place on Monday, Aug. 30 and Monday, Sept. 30.
In a statement to the AP, the North Carolina-based chicken and biscuit fast-food chain called its 8,000 employees and managers its “most vital assets.” The company hopes its employees use the closures to “rest and recharge.” Initially, it was not clear if employees would be paid, but company spokesperson Stacey McCray later clarified they will not.
McCray said the company believes its employees have been working more overtime lately and Bojangles hopes the off-days will help. Bojangles will also offer employees more chances to work extra hours if they choose, McCray said. The company also said the closures were in response to the labor shortages at fast-food chains and “other stresses” employees face during the pandemic.
“We appreciate everything our dedicated team has done for Bojangles this past year,” Bojangles CEO Jose Armario said in a statement to WCNC. “From navigating a global pandemic to adjusting to new safety measures to picking up shifts for those unable to come in for work, we’ve asked, and they’ve delivered. But this hasn’t been easy, and we know many people are physically and emotionally drained, so we hope these extra two days off will provide rest and refreshment.”
Bojangles was founded in Charlotte and it has 768 locations, mostly in the Southeast. Most of its locations are in North Carolina, with others located in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia.
Fast-food chains across the country are facing a labor shortage, even with some chains offering higher wages. According to a new study by Black Box Intelligence and Snagajob, there was a 10% increase in hourly wages for limited-service workers in the past year, reports USA Today. About 87% of respondents said they would rather have a set livable wage than needing tips. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said their mental health was negatively affected by working in restaurants in the past year. Many workers think restaurant jobs are not worth the added stress. Fifty-one percent of workers also said restaurant work does not have a consistent schedule.
Fast food chains are not the only ones facing closures this summer due to the coronavirus. As cases skyrocket again in the South, some Walmart stores in Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma and other states have temporarily closed to undergo special cleaning and sanitation protocols.