For many, the coronavirus pandemic has brought along with it the grim reality of job loss.

Many restaurants and bars have released all of their employees aside from skeleton crews while others have closed altogether following N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order to close all dining rooms.

Cooper’s new executive order on Monday ordered all hair salons, barbershops, gyms, fitness clubs, movie theaters, bingo parlors, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors and similar businesses to close by 5 p.m. today.

But other businesses, like grocery stores and retailers that offer necessities, are allowed to remain open. And many of them are hiring to meet increased demand while other markets sag or close, potentially offering relief to workers affected by the virus.

Rural King in Morganton, for example, says it is hiring because “we are busier than ever and need help.” The farm and home store on Burkemont Avenue is offering full-time, part-time and temporary employment, touting competitive wages, a 15 percent employee discount, continuous growth, great benefits and an associate stock program.

“If your job has laid you off, we can offer temporary employment until your job picks back up,” the store said on Facebook. “We are looking for all positions.”

Those who are interested should visit or apply online at

Ingles Markets, which has a Morganton location on Carbon City Road, says it is hiring immediately in all stores, encouraging potential hires who are “out of work due to current events” or in need of supplemental income to “apply today, start tomorrow.”

“Our communities depend on Ingles Markets to care for their families and we are dedicated to providing those resources,” the company said on Facebook. “We are hiring for additional team members to meet the community’s needs.”

Applications can be submitted online at, or those who are interested can stop by the store to speak with a hiring manager. Open interview times are scheduled for 2-4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Walmart, which has a supercenter in the Morganton Heights Shopping Center and a neighborhood market on North Green Street, announced on its corporate website that it is hiring 150,000 new employees through the end of May. New hires will work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time, the announcement said.

Walmart says it has “reached out to industry groups representing restaurants and hospitality to facilitate temporary roles that can be a bridge for their employees during this difficult time.” Walmart also says it is also implementing a new process to expedite hiring for key roles, such as cashiers and stockers, noting that what is “usually a two-week application cycle will be reduced to a 24-hour process. ... This initiative is aimed at helping put Americans to work, while helping Walmart better serve customers during this time of increased demand.”

“We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we’re currently seeing strong demand in our stores,” said President and CEO Doug McMillon in the announcement. “We’re looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community.”

Anyone interested in applying should do so at

Dollar General, which has nine stores in Morganton, three in Connelly Springs and one apiece in Valdese, Glen Alpine and Hildebran, says it now is hiring for store, distribution center and driver fleet positions. Those who want to apply or lean more are directed online to

“For any individual whose job may be temporarily impacted by COVID-19, we have full- and part-time positions available across our store, distribution center and private fleet networks,” the chain posted on Facebook.

CVS Pharmacy, which has one store on North Green and another on U.S. Highway 70 in Rutherford College, has announced what it calls “the most ambitious hiring drive in the company’s history, with plans to immediately fill 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary roles across the country.” Those interested should visit

These roles will include store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and member/customer service professionals, CVS said, noting the company will “utilize a technology-enabled hiring process that includes virtual job fairs, virtual interviews and virtual job tryouts.” Many roles will be filled by existing CVS Health clients who have had to furlough workers, including the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains, the announcement said.

Pizzerias are looking to hire more workers as customers are forced to use carryout or delivery options. All three of the following chains have locations in Burke County.

Pizza Hut ( is anticipating hiring 30,000 permanent new cooks, shift leaders, restaurant managers, delivery drivers and virtual call center agents. Papa John’s Pizza ( has announced the hiring of up to 20,000 new restaurant team members. And Domino’s ( announced it wants to hire 10,000 delivery experts, pizza makers, customer service representatives, managers, assistant managers and Class A CDL drivers for U.S. supply chain centers.

Instacart, grocery delivery and pickup company, “is looking to hire 300,000 workers across North America to meet surging demand for grocery deliveries” over the next three months, according to a report by USA Today. The Instacart website says for customers in Burke County (not all locations are available; check address to make sure) that it will deliver from ALDI and CVS Pharmacy, while grocery pickup is available at Food Lion (multiple locations in Burke) and Publix (at the Henderson Road location in Asheville).

Other companies that have announced hiring plans in the wake of the coronavirus include:

» Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse: Accepting applications for full-time, part-time and seasonal roles. Learn more and apply at

» PepsiCo: Hiring 6,000 new full-time, full-benefit frontline employees across the U.S. in the coming months.

» Amazon: Adding 100,000 new full-time and part-time positions in its fulfillment centers and delivery network across the U.S. Amazon has four facilities in the Charlotte area.

Justin Epley can be reached at or 828-432-8943.

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