More Colorado hotels lay off workers due to coronavirus

Even though the state’s shelter-in-place order allows them to remain open, several Colorado hotels are shutting down and letting their workers go, according to filings made with the Colorado Department of Labor.

Great Wolf Lodge, a Chicago-based group that combines hotels with indoor water parks, said it would let go of 446 workers in Colorado Springs, making it the largest layoff so far reported to the state because of the coronavirus outbreak under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN).

Denver-based Sage Hospitality Group last week closed four of its signature hotel properties in Denver, including The Oxford Hotel, The Curtis, The Crawford Hotel at Union Station and the newer Maven Hotel at Dairy Block. The closures are expected to last through May 11

Sage informed the state it was letting go of 186 workers at the Oxford, 182 workers at the Curtis and 97 at the Maven. A figure wasn’t available for the Crawford on the state’s website.

“Sage Hospitality Group has made the very difficult decision to temporarily suspend business operations at a portion of our hotels and restaurants in order to protect the health and safety of our guests, our associates and our communities. While we live and work every day to enrich the lives of our guests and associates one experience at a time, we believe that this decision is in the best interest of the communities in which we work and live,” Walter Eisenberg, CEO of Sage, said in a letter posted on the company’s website.

The Elizabeth Hotel, part of the Autograph Collection, informed the state it would lay off off 111 workers in Old Town Fort Collins. And last week, the Four Seasons Resort and Residences in Vail said it was releasing 243 staff members. Vail Resorts has shut down all of its properties.

Among the positions the hotels said were impacted were the wait staff, bartenders, parking attendants, cooks, front desk workers, baristas, room attendants and others.

A public WARN isn’t available for Colorado’s largest hotel, the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, but Colin Reed, chairman and CEO of Ryman Hospitality Group, which owns the properties that make up the Gaylord convention hotel network, informed investors Tuesday that the company was working with Marriott to close its five locations.

Ryman said customers had canceled 68,924 room nights at the Gaylord Rockies as of March 22, which represented $42.5 million in lost revenue. The company also said it would put a 317-room expansion worth $80 million in Aurora on hold to conserve resources. The Aurora Sentinel reports that Gaylord Rockies informed the city it had laid off 800 workers Thursday.

Earls Restaurants, a Canada-based chain with locations on the 16th Street Mall and in Lone Tree, notified the state it was letting go of 134 workers, while Pappas Restaurants, owner of the Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen in Greenwood Village, said it had dismissed 145 staffers.

As restaurants around the state closed or switched to take-out-only service, those at Denver International Airport remained open. But even they are reducing hours and shutting down. Among those that are reporting layoffs to the state are Que Bueno, Colombo Frozen Yogurt and the  Sara Lee Sandwich Shoppe, Einstein Brothers, Timberline Steaks and Grill, Root Down, and Etai’s Cafe and Bakery. Specific job losses were not reported.

A study from the Pew Research Center on Friday stated that about one in four U.S. jobs are in industries considered at high risk for layoffs, including retail, food service and leisure and hospitality. Workers in those industries are more likely to be younger, with 16- to 24-year-olds making up just under a quarter of those employed, Rakesh Kochhar,  a senior researcher at Pew Research Center, said in a note.

Across all industries, the average weekly earnings in January were $975. But workers in food services and drinking places earned only $394 per week on average, Kochhar said.

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