White Castle normally keeps its restaurants open 24 hours a day every day except Christmas Day—but it is making an exception on Tuesday. The burger chain says its 377 restaurants in 13 states will be closed from 7am to 11am on Election Day to give workers time to vote. Restaurant employees scheduled to work during that time will be paid for the time, as will workers at the company's head office and its manufacturing plants. "We have decided to start a new tradition," CEO Lisa Ingram said in a statement. "Starting this year and going forward, White Castle will give team members time to exercise their right to vote in presidential elections. We believe voting is a right of responsible citizenship, and we want all our team members to have that opportunity."
Numerous retailers including Walmart and Apple are giving employees paid time off to vote, though few restaurant chains have followed suit, Business Insider reports. Exceptions include Ben & Jerry's, which is closing all its facilities on Nov. 3, and Shake Shack, which is giving workers three hours of paid time off if they are voting—and eight hours if they volunteer as poll workers. Josh Loeb, CEO of the Rustic Canyon Family restaurant group in California, tells the Counter that the day will be a paid vacation for its workers. "If we've learned anything through this crisis and pandemic and shutdown in sales, it’s that one day doesn’t make or break you," he says. (Read more Election 2020 stories.)