Four Seasons, 204 layoffs, as businesses hemorrhage jobs
Nearly 18k have lost jobs to Covid-19: TRD analysis
The Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown Manhattan is the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
Located at Silverstein Properties’ 30 Park Place, the luxe hotel is closed until further notice, according to its website. It plans to lay off 204 workers, a notice filed with the state’s Department of Labor says.
On its website, the Four Seasons said it will not take reservations until at least April 21 “out of an abundance of caution related to the evolving Covid-19 situation.”
Hotels have not been ordered by the state to close, but occupancy has plummeted as travel has come to a virtual stop.
In addition to the Four Seasons, other hotel layoffs announced Monday include the Greenwich Hotel, which is laying off 76, and the POD Hotel Brooklyn, which is laying off 49. “We plan to open as soon as things clear up,” Richard Born, co-founder of BD Hotels, which owns the POD, wrote in an email. “Hopefully [in] three months or so.”
New York businesses have disclosed plans to lay off 17,639 because of Covid-19, according to The Real Deal’s analysis of WARN notices, which give advance warning of job cuts. The latest batch, which appeared on the Department of Labor’s website Monday, delivered bad news for at least 1,683 workers. Nearly 9,500 layoffs were announced in a single day last week.
Last week, hotel owners reached a deal with the New York Hotel Trades Council to give five or six months’ of health insurance to laid-off workers. The agreement also stipulates that the union’s 40,000 members can use up to nine weeks of paid time off if they are laid off or furloughed.
Unemployment numbers spiked last week, hitting a record 3.28 million, as small and large businesses across the country laid off and furloughed workers. For the week ending March 21, New York received 80,500 unemployment claims, a 520 percent increase from the same period a year ago.
On Monday, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis estimated the coronavirus pandemic could cost 47 million jobs next quarter. If, theoretically, all of those people sought work, it would send the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 32.1 percent. The rate peaked at 24.9 percent during the Great Depression.
Layoffs are rampant in nearly every part of the real estate industry. Law firms including Goldberg Segalla and Belkin Burden Goldman have laid off some staff, according to Law.com. On Monday, Meridian Capital, the city’s most active debt brokerage, said it would reduce a “small number” of back-office jobs. Last week, Softbank-backed residential firm Compass laid off 15 percent of its staff.
The latest batch of WARN notices included non-hospitality businesses as well. Scott J. Salons said it would lay off 202 people in six locations. Salons have been ordered closed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
For some New York companies, the pandemic accelerated previously planned layoffs.
Gourmet Management Corp., which operates fast-food restaurants at Penn Station, moved up plans to lay off 72 people in June so that owner Vornado Realty Trust could renovate the corridor between Seventh and Eighth avenues. Last month, Vornado said it would close The Pennsy food hall as part of its $2 billion redevelopment of the Penn Plaza district. But Cuomo has also now ordered non-essential construction to stop.
In the case of Fairway Market, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, the pandemic delayed planned layoffs. The supermarket chain said in February it may lay off 2,159 employees in March and April, but in an updated WARN notice it said the “separation” is now expected between April and May. The company cited a delay in selling its Bronx production and distribution center to Village Supermarket, which previously said it would pay $70 million for that facility and five of Fairway’s 14 locations.