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This Fast-Food Chain Is Closing Locations Due to Sick Workers

You may encounter closed locations in your area.
chipotle workers assembling burritos

Restaurant workers across the country are falling ill as a third wave of COVID-19 hits. Chipotle is one business struggling to keep locations open as a spike in cases creates labor shortages.

The popular fast-food chain has temporarily closed or limit hours at a number of locations. While only a small number of Chipotle restaurants have been impacted, CEO Brian Niccol predicts staffing shortages will become "even more challenging" in the months ahead. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)

"When employees start coming down with COVID at these high percentages, it just makes staffing much more challenging than what it was six months ago," Niccol told Bloomberg. "The coming months, I think, are going to be even more challenging from a staffing standpoint."

However, Niccol pointed out that the rate of infections among Chipotle's workers was still "below the national average in a meaningful way."

Laurie Schalow, Chipotle's chief corporate affairs and food safety officer, confirmed to Restaurant Business that the chain was having trouble keeping restaurants staffed and operational in certain areas where employees from nearby locations weren't available to cover for sick colleagues.

Employee health issues have impacted other large chains besides Chipotle. A Chicago McDonald's was accused of pressuring staff to work despite being infected. Meanwhile, an Applebee's franchisee cited staffing struggles as one of the reasons it filed for bankruptcy.

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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more