Martinsville restaurant closes due to lack of staff as city sees 8.2% unemployment

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - With the open sign ripped in half, The Sirloin House in Martinsville has made it clear it is now closed due to a lack of employees.

“It was a place that people love to go and just be there; in the back they had rooms where we have gone for family reunions and get-togethers,” said Martinsville City Councilman Chad Martin.

While he doesn’t like to see a business close, Martin says he understands why it happened.

“From a business owner standpoint, I would love to be open, but if I can’t get people to work, I have to close,” said Martin.

The Sirloin House isn’t the only one impacted by staffing. Martinsville’s Chic-Fil-A recently announced its dining room would be closing due to a staffing shortage.

As Martin says, other restaurants are facing the same struggles, and he believes they might have to make more adjustments.

“COVID-19 has really made people become very innovative. I think what is going to happen is people are going to have to be innovative,” said Martin.

Martin and others believe restaurant workers could be delaying their return to collect unemployment benefits, as the city’s unemployment rate is 8.2%. Still, Martin says the Sirloin House closing should be a wakeup call to not take jobs for granted.

“Yes, you can relax, you can sit at home and collect money, but again, you might not have a job to come back to when those unemployment benefits run out,” said Martin.

Martin also voiced concerns about ensuring employees have a safe environment to return to as the virus continues to spread.

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