Job cuts are being planned at the iconic Pebble Beach resort in Monterey County, while separate layoffs are in the works at Bay Area hotels as well as the Golden Gate Bridge District, with the employers blaming staff cutbacks on coronavirus-linked woes.
Pebble Beach Co. intends to lay off about 500 workers in the Monterey area, the Golden Gate Bridge District is cutting 192 jobs, and Marriott hotel sites are planning to chop 280 jobs in the Bay Area, according to formal notices filed with state labor officials.
(Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group
Vern Fisher / Monterey Herald
Restaurants and winery operations in the Bay Area also have notified the state’s Employment Development Department of plans to lay off workers.
In at least one case, an employer is warning that even more employment cutbacks are possible.
“We are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn will continue to have a significant impact on our business for months to come,” Pebble Beach Co. chief administrative officer David Heuck wrote in a letter to the EDD.
Pebble Beach Co., in detailing the job cuts at its facilities, warned that due to a “dramatic reduction in business” the layoffs might be far from over and that it won’t be long before a fresh reassessment is made, the company stated in an official notice to the EDD.
“In the event that our business does not improve significantly by Oct. 31, 2020, Pebble Beach Company will have to make a very difficult decision about whether or not to implement an additional permanent layoff,” Heuck stated in the letter.
The restrictions by state and local government agencies — coupled with health concerns over the coronavirus — appear to have scared away enough customers that some Bay Area employers seem uncertain about resuming normal operations.
Hotels, restaurants, and resorts were deemed to be particularly vulnerable when government officials began to order business shutdowns.
“A lot of the hotels that are being hard hit are full-service hotels and that part of the hotel sector is completely devastated,” said Alan Reay, president of Atlas Hospitality Group, which tracks the lodging market. “They have been wiped out.”
At least four Marriott hotels in the Bay Area have filed recent EDD layoff notices.
Marriott Santa Clara will cut 98 positions, Marriott San Ramon will slash 60 jobs, and two Marriott hotels in San Francisco plan a combined total of 122 job cuts, the notices stated.
“Since the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis began, the hospitality industry has faced many unprecedented challenges that could not have been foreseen,” Lisa Morin, human resources manager with the Santa Clara Marriott, wrote in her hotel’s notice. “The crisis’s impact on the industry has been historic, swift, and devastating.”
Relief from coronavirus-linked economic ailments has yet to come into view, Marriott said.
“Challenging business conditions, including historically low hotel occupancy and mounting event cancellations, will extend into 2021,” Yolanda Serrato, director of human resources with the San Ramon Marriott, wrote in the notice for the East Bay hotel.
Hotels that tend to serve different markets are being affected in varied ways, said Dharmesh Patel, executive managing director, Hotels USA, with Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm.
“Leisure travel has some life right now, a little bit, especially in coastal areas,” Patel said. “But for corporate markets, there is a complete lack of corporate travel at present.”
Hotels that specialize in the leisure market report their business is around 35 percent to 50 percent of normal, Patel estimated. Hotels that focus on the corporate market are more in the range of 8 percent to 15 percent of normal.
The Fish Market Restaurant is one dining establishment that reported to the EDD that it will permanently cease operations at its south San Jose location, blaming the coronavirus for its economic difficulties.
“The pandemic’s economic impact has caused Fish Market Restaurants to incur unforeseeable financial losses” Dwight Colton, president of the company, wrote in the letter to the EDD. “The pandemic’s overwhelming economic impact has been sudden, rapidly escalating, and unforeseeable.”
Fish Market Restaurant has decided to lay off 73 workers at its Blossom Hill Road site in San Jose.
At least one public agency whose operations revolve around a world-famous landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge, also has decided to chop jobs, blaming the virus.
“The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District has determined that it is unable to continue to financially support all of its existing operations due to the impact of the pandemic,” Denis Mulligan, the district’s general manager, wrote in the agency’s filing.
Decreased trips across the Golden Gate Bridge, along with reduced demand for bus and ferry services, has eroded the district’s finances. The proposed cuts of 192 jobs — which could be eased if new funding sources materialize — include 120 bus operators based out of San Rafael.
The bridge is a key funnel to getaways along the North Coast and the North Bay Wine Country. A travel nosedive appears to have bludgeoned hotels and resorts in those areas.
“Right now, hotels are just not as economically viable as before,” Reay said.