Now that things are starting to become more “normal” around the SouthCoast following the COVID-19 pandemic, I just have one request: can we get some more 24-hour restaurants and retail establishments going again?

I’ll start by saying that I completely understand that there is still a labor shortage. Businesses are having a hard time staffing regular hours, let alone overnight hours. Perhaps, though, there are some good workers out there whose own circadian rhythms require them to work the graveyard shift?

For the longest time, I was one of those people. Before I switched myself over to working early mornings in my early 20s, I would stay away at all hours of the night, go to bed at about 6 a.m. and wake up by 10 a.m. each day. It was all the sleep my body would allow me to get for years, and I needed somewhere to go to occupy myself in those normally silent hours.

Where can someone in that position go today?

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There are still a few 24-hour spots left, mostly convenience stores and fast food drive-thrus and maybe a few pharmacies. Tell me, though, is there anything better than shopping at Walmart or Stop & Shop at 1 a.m.?

In my college days, the Wareham Walmart was open 24 hours and after midnight was the perfect time with my schedule to get my shopping done. It was also the best time to go and see what kind of weirdos might be wandering the aisles, too. It was an insomniac’s (waking) dream.

Even Dunkin’ is closing early. There was a time when I became an overnight regular at the East Wareham Dunkin’, hanging out while my friend was working the counter. I’d talk to the different people that would come in, read a book, and get the newspapers as soon as they arrived each morning.

How about going to the Dartmouth IHOP after hours? There were many times I’d be on my way home from somewhere at 2 a.m. and I’d stop in for an early breakfast. Now, IHOP closes at 10 p.m. and those late-night pancake cravings can only be satisfied at home, and who wants to cook themselves breakfast in the middle of the night?

Again, I understand labor is an issue right now, but I’m hoping that once staffing levels get back to adequate, some businesses might consider opening 24 hours. All the night owls need you.

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