Restaurant Furloughs, Layoffs Abound Amid Covid-19 Outbreak

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As the U.S. aims to slow the spread of Covid-19, restaurants and bars in states across the nation have had to stop operating, with many forced to lay off or furlough much or all of their staff. The list of restaurant groups experiencing staff cuts is long; here are just a few announced in the past week or so.

-New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group is laying off about 2,000 people—80% of its workforce—in its restaurants and home office following “a near complete elimination of revenue,” the company said in a statement.

-The world’s largest hotel company Marriott International said it will furlough tens of thousands of hotel workers, and have to lay off a number of those workers.

-Chef Tom Colicchio laid off 300 people at his New York-based Crafted Hospitality restaurant group.

-Columbus, OH-based Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, parent company of Ocean Prime, said it will temporarily close all of the company’s restaurants at the close of business March 29, furloughing about 4,500 employees.

Farmers Restaurant Group, which owns six restaurants in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia region, will temporarily lay off 1,100 hourly employees.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill notified Ohio that it will have to lay off of 410 of its 450 employees statewide. Firebirds operates five restaurants in the state.

-Miami-based Genuine Hospitality Group had to lay off most of its 460-person staff when it closed its nine restaurants and catering company.

The National Restaurant Association says that early economic forecasts have the industry sustaining a loss of at least $225 billion, and be forced to eliminate 5 million to 7 million jobs during the next three months. The NRA appealed to President Trump and congressional leaders in a March 18 letter for immediate relief in the wake of government-mandated operational changes.

The letter proposed three separate categories of protection for industry restaurants and employees: directed/targeted financial relief; loans/insurance options for impacted small businesses; and tax measures. NRA says that restaurants will need $325 billion from the government to help employees and business owners.

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