The Major Crisis That Forced This Colorado Dunkin' To Close

JB Partners, an Arizona-based franchisee company for Dunkin', has faced difficulties in their Colorado Springs expansion. Namely, their restaurants are short-staffed due to what the industry insists on calling the labor shortage. According to The Colorado Springs Gazette, after surviving 50 years of various natural and economic calamities, one local Dunkin' location ultimately fell because it only had three employees, not the needed 15.

"We're in a major labor crisis and that is the 100% reason why we're closed," Alex Apodaca, the chief operating officer for JB Partners, explained. "No other reason."

This, Business Insider notes, has been a common complaint. At least five Chick-fil-A restaurants report having to either close early or close entirely due to short staffing. The hope, as The New York Post relates, is that people will feel obligated to start looking for work now that the $300 weekly bonus to unemployment benefits has ended. "You are going to see a huge spike in employment over the next 45 days," Tom Grechen, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, predicted.

The flip side of the issue

The arguments that there is a labor shortage and that it will end with the reduction of unemployment benefits are rooted in a Protestant suspicion that people just want to be lazy. "It's one thing to get unemployment when you can't find a job or can't work, that's a blessed thing... But to pay people more to sit at home was just wrong," Mark Jaffe, president of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, told The New York Post.

However, as the Post notes, 26 states have already opted out of the unemployment bonus, and there has not been a strong connection between the lack of aid and greater employment numbers.

In a L.A. Times column, author Michael Hiltzik quotes Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project: "We don't have a work ethic problem, but a care infrastructure and healthcare risk problem." People want to work but lack both affordable childcare and the guarantee that they can work safely in a pandemic environment. These issues combine when you remember that children under 12 cannot yet receive the vaccine. So, rather than rallying against alleged laziness, people should keep in mind that this loss of benefits further penalizes people who were already struggling due to COVID-19. Only time will tell if this particular Colorado Springs Dunkin' will reopen now that benefits have ended.