Los Angeles’ historic and exclusive Chateau Marmont has reportedly laid off almost all of its employees as the coronavirus pandemic has forced occupancy rates to lower than 30 percent in Southern California.
The 91-year-old luxury hotel, a favorite of celebrities, said it would pay health benefits for laid-off workers through the end of March, The Los Angeles Times reported.
“In the middle of this pandemic, I’m now unemployed and will soon lose health insurance for my entire family,” Walter Almendarez, a bellman who worked for the hotel for 23 years, told The Times.
In a statement, the company said it is “in the process of launching initiatives that will aid a fund which will help support employees in this time of need.”
In California alone, 125,000 hotel workers are expected to lose their jobs, according to The Times.
“The hotel also did not commit to recalling workers according to seniority when the crisis subsides,” Local 11 said in a statement Wednesday night, according to The Wrap.
Nearby, the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica and the Luxe Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills were all forced to close and laid-off workers without severance, The Times reported. Some union workers will keep health benefits and have the right to be rehired.
In New York, Manhattan’s Baccarat Hotel and The Watson Hotel have let go of a combined nearly 300 workers, according to The Real Deal, a New York real estate publication.
In Miami, Eden Roc Hotels has laid-off more than 250 employees.
Both MGM and Marriott also plan to lay-off some workers from their various hotels across the country, according to Forbes.
Even the Trump Organization has laid off some staff at hotels in New York and Washington.
Nevertheless, some hotels and chains are finding ways to keep their lowest-paid employees during the crisis.
Hilton’s CEO Christopher Nassetta announced this week he will forego his salary for the rest of the year and the executive committee will take a 50 percent pay cut for the rest of the crisis.
The company plans to temporarily furlough their tens of thousands of workers at their many hotels instead of laying them off.
The company is also offering resources to help furloughed employees find alternative work – like at a grocery store – during the crisis, according to USA Today.
Similarly, Hyatt’s CEO Mark Hoplamazian and Chairman Tom Pritzker will forego their salaries and the other senior executives will take 50 percent pay cuts.
Hyatt is furloughing employees and cutting hours but said the company is creating a fund from executive salaries for its most financially struggling employees.
Back in Los Angeles, The Commerce Hotel and Casino, which closed nearly two weeks ago, said it plans to keep paying the company’s 2,500 workers and provide health benefits, The Times reported.
“They don’t treat us like machines here,” Chazz Nava, who has been a bartender at the casino for 15 years, said. “I knew it was going to happen because they always treat us well. They treat us like family.”
Caesars Entertainment, which owns properties across the country, including several along Las Vegas’ Strip like Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and Paris, has closed its hotels but plans to pay full and part-time workers for the next two weeks with benefits. Employees with the company’s health plan will keep benefits through June.
The Senate passed a historic $2 trillion recovery package Wednesday, which includes $349 billion for small businesses and under the bill, many hotels could qualify as small businesses.