Fitzpatrick Hotel rehires staff just to lay them off again

The Midtown hotel had brought staffers back after receiving a PPP loan

Hotelier John Fitzpatrick and the Fitzpatrick Hotel at 687 Lexington Avenue (Google Maps)
Hotelier John Fitzpatrick and the Fitzpatrick Hotel, 687 Lexington Avenue (Google Maps)

The past three months have been a rollercoaster ride for staff at the Fitzpatrick Hotel, who are being laid off yet again.

The hotel, at 687 Lexington Avenue, near Grand Central Terminal, laid off employees at the beginning of the shutdown, before bringing them back at the end of April upon getting a Paycheck Protection Program loan, according to George Kurth, the director of sales and marketing for Fitzpatrick Hotels. Now, 58 staff members will once again have to vacate the premises on Monday, as the loan money runs out, according to Department of Labor filings.

Kurth said he hopes to rehire staff after the shutdown.

“There’s a lot of things that still have to happen before a normal business flow can be expected. We need Broadway to open very badly, and that’s probably not going to happen till September,” Kurth said. “But, it will help when our restaurants are open, it will help when retail stores are open, it’ll help when tourist attractions are open.”

Kurth said that in the meantime, the hotel has been implementing safety precautions, including sanitizing rooms using electrostatic cleaners and setting up temperature monitoring.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put a halt to tourism and forced many hotels in the city to close, in some cases permanently. Some hotels, under city programs, have been housing homeless people and residents who have tested positive for coronavirus but are unable to safely isolate at home.

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New York City’s hotel occupancy rate was 47.1 percent during the first week of June — higher than the national average, according to data from STR, but down nearly 48 percent from last year.

Even as retail and construction jobs resumed operations under phase one of reopening, hotels have continued to suffer.

In New York state, the hotel industry was projected to lose over 200,000 of 500,000 hotel-supported jobs by the end of March, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Nationally, 4 million such employees were expected to lose their jobs.

Hotel construction projects were booming across the five boroughs last year, with investors saying the only thing to fear was a recession. Now, those fears may have become a reality.

Contact Sasha Jones at Sasha.Jones@TheRealDeal.com