With the coronavirus pandemic easing, things are starting to move forward.

Ted Belcher, who handles leasing for Wesleyan Park Plaza, says several things are happening there.

Julep Home and Gift has moved into the former Excursions space.

Belcher said, “We’re probably going to divide the Hallmark space into two stores.”

He expects to be announcing a new tenant soon for the former Sally Beauty location.

And Belcher said he hopes to announce a new tenant within 30 days for the 65,000 square feet left in the former Kmart space in the shopping center.

• Restaurants nationally are having a hard time hiring help these days.

And some are raising pay to attract more applicants.

Chipotle Mexican Grill said last week that it is raising its hourly wages to an average of $15 an hour by the end of June.

And general managers can reach $100,000 a year within three years, the company said.

Also last week, McDonald’s said its company-owned stores will raise wages to $13 an hour this summer and go to $15 an hour in all company-owned locations by 2024.

Entry-level workers will make at least $11 per hour and shift managers will make at least $15 per hour, the company said.

Chick-fil-A fans need to stock up now.

The company said the local restaurant will close at 9 p.m. on June 3 for renovations.

A company statement said, “The renovations include both interior and exterior enhancements to the drive-thru to serve customers more efficiently, among other various upgrades. Chick-fil-A proactively assesses opportunities to improve the guest experience and we appreciate the support of the community during this time.”

The restaurant is expected to reopen in late July.

• Speaking of restaurants, TOP Data says that between Jan. 1 and April 30, fast food restaurants have seen a 33.06% increase in customer visits.

The top five chains were Sonic, 101.59% increase; McDonald’s, 58.75%; KFC, 48.87%; Wendy’s, 42.8%; and Burger King, 39%.

• AAA Travel says that more than 37 million of us are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home during the Memorial Day weekend.

That’s an increase of 60% from last year — during the early months of the pandemic — when only 23 million traveled, the report said.

That was the lowest percentage since AAA began doing the study in 2000.

270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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