Doors of most stores have been closed to promote social distancing, resulting in lost wages

By Layal Srour
March 30, 2020

“A record breaking 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week,” as reported by the Labor Department due to a “nationwide shut down of restaurants, hotels, barber shops, gyms and more.”

On the week of March 16, thousands of retail stores, companies and restaurants have been told by state governors to close their doors and transition to online orders, takeouts and delivery.

The closures of these major companies will benefit the spread of the virus because there will not be a lot of person-to-person contact.

Unfortunately, these closures are resulting in employees losing their jobs and losing income, as well as employers losing income for their own businesses.

An article by ABC News 7, in Los Angeles, California, reported that many different stores and restaurants have closed their doors until further notice.

Restaurant including IHOP, McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Waffle House and many more have turned to drive-thru, pick-up and delivery.

File:Chick-fil-A in Fairlawn, Ohio - panoramio.jpg
Chick-Fil-A is one of many stores that have closed their doors, but remained open for take-out and delivery. Photo via Wikicommons.

“We know these are challenging times, but we will continue to do our best to serve you,” A Chick-Fil-A representative said.

Martin King, CEO of Taco Bell, spoke out on the situation after closing their doors, as well and moved to drive-thru and delivery options, saying, “We aim to be the safest place to eat and the safest place to work.”

In an email by Dunkin CEO David Hoffman, he said, “We have removed access to seating and tables from the dining and patio areas, will have reduced hours and will be limited to drive-thru and/or carry-out-only services.”

Since all the shopping malls are closed, that means the stores and restaurants have been closed, as well resulting in many people losing their jobs including Danielle Basile, senior elementary education major.

I worked at California Pizza Kitchen in the King of Prussia mall. Due to the virus, I now have to quit working there even after it opens because I no longer have anywhere close to that job to live,” Basile said. “The coronavirus affected me long term because I was planning on working there through the summer and now I have to seek other summer employment.”

Located in King of Prussia, California Pizza Kitchen has over 250 locations in more than 30 states and 11 countries. Photo by Wikicommons.

Due to the number of restaurants that closed their dining areas, online ordering such as Grubhub, Ubereats, Doordash, Postmates, Caviar and many more are doing free deliveries, so customers do not have to pay a delivery fee when ordering their meal.

Besides bars and restaurants being closed, a lot of retail stores have also closed, but are continuing online shopping. Also, grocery stores and other essential stores that have stayed open are implementing a rule where shoppers must stand six feet apart from each other.

In malls and other shopping centers, stores such as Forever 21, Banana Republic, Gap, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Kohl’s and TJX, AMC theaters, Macy’s, Bath and Body works, Nike, Apple, Aerie and American Eagle, etc. will be closed until further notice, which resulted in a lot of people losing their jobs and some employees not getting compensated leading to filing for unemployment.

Both Kohl’s and TJX, the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, announced Thursday, March 26, that they “will close stores at least through the end of the month. Associates will receive two calendar weeks of pay during the closure.”

Many retail stores issued a policy where they have began “refusing to accept returns for another reason: possible contamination.”

I am a retail sales associate at Banana Republic & GAP. I currently am not allowed to come into the store and work, being that the facility in where the store is located is shut down as a whole,” Marcus Collazo, sophomore digital communication and social media major, said. 

I currently am not being compensated during times where I was scheduled to eventually work. Most people I know are being paid for their time away, at least for the shifts they had coming up before closure, Collazo said. “It is not a commission-based position, so I am definitely financially challenged right now being out of work.”

“As a full time student and a part time employee I rarely got hours at my job so that made for a paycheck that never really helped other than gas for my car and food,” Alexa Bojorquez, freshman digital communication and social media major, said. “Now that the store is  closed that stream of income went with it and I no longer have a means of earning money as that is my only job.”

“Forever 21 and Philadelphia Mills are not sure or have an idea of when they might reopen because of how fast things are changing and how serious they are becoming, Bojorquez said. “That makes it so that I have no idea of how long I’ll go without a job and income.”

Outside of retail stores and restaurants, people who work in education facilities, babysitters, internships, and more have also been affected by the shut down because of schedule changes and/or loss of jobs.

I babysit for a local family so with that one the virus has affected it that both parents working from home they don’t need me until the virus stops,” Noelle Dutka, sophomore educational studies major, said. 

“I also work at a summer camp that has almost three hundred kids per day that come to camp so we are worried that with the virus we will not be able to open in June if it continues,” Dutka said. “Which would mean not only would I be out of a job but the 80 other counselors and those 300 plus kids would be out of our job and the kids camp experience.”

Unfortunately, nobody knows how long these stores will be on shut down, but the longer this process continues, along with social distancing, then the spread of coronavirus will be defeated.

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Layal Srour

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