Mass layoffs claim jobs at the Plaza, Sofitel and Le Bernardin

More than 1,000 restaurant workers were laid off, per WARN notices

New York /
Mar.March 27, 2020 05:20 PM
 
The Plaza Hotel, Sofitel New York at 45 West 44th Street and Le Bernardin at 155 West 51st Street (Credit: Yarl via Wikipedia Commons, Sofitel and Le Bernadin)

The Plaza Hotel, Sofitel New York at 45 West 44th Street and Le Bernardin at 155 West 51st Street (Credit: Yarl via Wikipedia Commons, Sofitel and Le Bernadin)

From the Plaza Hotel to Le Bernardin, workers at New York City restaurants and hotels were battered by more layoffs on Friday.

With most non-essential business in the city at a standstill, there were 19 new WARN notices filed, signalling mass layoffs. The notices impacted a total of 1,692 workers.

Among those businesses reporting layoffs in New York City were the famed Plaza Hotel, which laid off 250 employees and will close Friday. “As we navigate through these uncertain times, the safety of our loyal guests and valued colleagues is our highest priority,” George Cozonis, the Plaza’s managing director, wrote on the hotel’s website.

Others include Le Bernardin, Eric Ripert’s groundbreaking French seafood restaurant at 155 West 51st Street, which did not disclose how many staffers would be impacted. CUT by Wolfgang Puck, located at the Four Seasons Hotel in Lower Manhattan, plans to temporarily lay off 74 when it closes March 29.

Not all of the layoffs showed up in state records.

Flex office provider Knotel is cutting half of its staff due to the pandemic. The WeWork rival laid off 30 percent of its 400-person workforce. It furloughed another 20 percent, CEO Amol Sarva told Commercial Observer. “Business as usual is over,” he said. “We’re going to prepare for the worst case.”

Last week, a record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits breaking a prior record set in 1982.

In New York, WARN notices have skyrocketed. On Thursday, 93 companies filed WARN notices, disclosing at least 9,400 layoffs for Covid-19-related reasons.

Of the companies that filed noticed Friday, 12 restaurants said they would lay off a total of 1,074 workers. They ranged from multiple T.G.I. Friday’s locations to Carmine’s on the Upper West Side, which will lay off 159 employees. Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar will lay off 88.

Five hotels also said they would let at least 611 employees go. In addition to the Plaza, Sofitel New York at 45 West 44th Street will let go 85 staffers. EVEN Hotel Time Square, which is part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, will lay off 35.

Sofitel announced on Facebook on March 18 that it made the “difficult decision” to temporarily close its doors. “Because changes are ongoing and unforeseeable due to COVID-19, we have implemented new cancellation/modification policies to provide our guests with increased flexibility,” it said.

The hospitality industry has been pummeled by the economic fallout from the pandemic, and Marriott International has said it plans to furlough thousands of employees.

Real estate in New York will also be impacted, after the state shut down all construction except work on infrastructure, healthcare facilities and affordable housing. Previously, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it clear that real estate agents are non-essential workers.

On Friday, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the coronavirus.


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