More than 1,000 employees working for Loews hotel properties at the Universal Orlando Resort are being laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In separate notices filed with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity this week, Loews Hotels said a total of 1,015 employees would be terminated immediately. These include:
- 475 workers at Loews Portofino Bay Resort
- 200 workers at Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel
- 176 employees at a support facility for Loews’ Universal hotels, located at 6800 Lakewood Plaza Driver
- 164 employees at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
In Loews’ letters to the state, regional human resources director Shawn German said the hotel chain initially thought the pandemic would only have a temporary impact on its business at Universal and had begun recalling furloughed employees in anticipation of business returning to normal. That hasn’t happened, according to the letter, due to the summer surge in COVID-19 cases in Florida and requirements in many states that anyone returning from Florida quarantine for 14 days.
“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 substantially longer to resume than previously anticipated, which requires us to change and delay our business plans to reopen in ways that were not reasonably foreseeable as recently as days ago,” German said.
Loews has temporarily closed two other Universal properties, the Sapphire Falls Resort and the Aventura Hotel, due to lower hotel bookings. Portofino Bay has remained closed even as Universal’s parks reopened in June.
Cabana Bay, Hard Rock, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites remain open. The other half of the Endless Summer Resort, Dockside Inn & Suites, has yet to welcome guests, as its planned March 2020 debut was delayed indefinitely by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the global pandemic surrounding COVID-19 has forced Loews Hotels & Co to make some difficult decisions as it relates to our workforce,” Loews spokesperson Jennifer Hodges said in a statement to Theme Park Tribune. “Team Members are the backbone of our company and rest assured, these measures were not taken lightly.”
This is the third set of layoffs to affect the resort due to the coronavirus pandemic. Universal Orlando laid off an unspecified number of employees just weeks after reopening in June, followed by more layoffs — again without specifying how many workers were let go — in late July.
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