Prestige, glamour and Central Park views proved no match for the microscopic coronavirus as the Plaza Hotel stopped taking guests Friday and announced 251 layoffs.
“We fully support our local authorities as they work to halt the spread of COVID-19. For this reason, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend service at The Plaza effective on Friday,” said George Cozonis, its managing director, in a statement on the hotel’s website.
A notice filed to the state’s Department of Labor and posted Friday morning characterized the layoffs as temporary. It said four union locals were affected: Local 6, Local 153, Local 3, and Local 94. The reason was given as “Unforeseeable business circumstances prompted by Covid-19,” a category checked by many of the businesses filing layoff notices with the agency this week.
Peter Ward, president of the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, told the New York Times last week that roughly half of his New York union’s 40,000 members had been laid off. That percentage is likely continuing to rise as travel to the city has been brought to a virtual halt by the coronavirus pandemic.
It was not immediately clear how the Plaza’s permanent residents would be affected by the suspension of service Friday. The notice filed with the state gave the date of the layoffs as Sunday, March 22.