About 840 employees at three Universal Orlando area Loews Hotels have been indefinitely furloughed and some were permanently let go according to the Orlando Sentinel. The employees impacted are from the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and Cabana Bay Beach hotels. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Universal’s Aventura Hotel have been shut down temporarily, but the Hard Rock Hotel, Portofino Bay Hotel and Cabana Bay Beach Hotels will not be closed amid the staff cuts.
Loews Hotels & Co. spokesperson Jennifer Hodges made this statement:
“Unfortunately, the global pandemic surrounding COVID-19 has forced Loews Hotels & Co to make some difficult decisions as it relates to our workforce. Team Members are the backbone of our company and rest assured, these measures were not taken lightly.”
The employees that were not terminated could be laid off for more than six months according to the letter Loews Hotels & Co. Regional Human Resources Director Shawn German submitted to the state.
He discussed the impact of the pandemic on the travel industry and the business for the hotels, citing the increased number of COVID-19 cases and how some states were imposing quarantine guidelines if you visit Florida due to the increased cases:
“Initially, we believed that the pandemic was going to impact our business at the hotel for a short temporary period. Indeed, we had begun to recall some furloughed employees in anticipation of returning to more levels of business we believed the pandemic had begun to abate. Both of these circumstances have now caused a sudden, dramatic and unexpected reversal in bookings which now makes it clear that the demand for travel, events and hospitality services will take longer than previously anticipated.”
All the theme parks and hotels in the Orlando area have been impacted by the pandemic. Crowds are down, although Universal Orlando seems to be performing better, a lot of the people are locals. Many are afraid to travel because of the virus, even if the parks and hotels have been very diligent. Mask guidelines, reduced hours, Park Passes, etc. are also reasons that potential guests are waiting until a later time. Sadly, the economy in Orlando, and the state of Florida, relies heavily on tourism and the pandemic has hit the city and state hard.
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Source: Orlando Sentinel