Hotels move to reduced hours, closures and temporary leave to preserve jobs

18 March 2020 by
Hotels move to reduced hours, closures and temporary leave to preserve jobs

Hotel groups in the UK are moving to reduce staff hours or put employees on temporary leave in order to preserve jobs through the coronavirus crisis.

With properties experiencing significant decline in footfall with uncertainty around how long this will last, Marriott International said it is "adjusting global operations accordingly", which has meant either reduction in hours or temporary leave.

A spokesperson for the hotel group said: "We are working quickly to mitigate the impact to our business and evaluating all options to safeguard employment levels. While the ultimate impact is difficult to predict at this time given the fluidity of the situation, we remain confident in our long-term prospects."

In a statement, chief executive Arne Sorenson said occupancy levels in the group's hotels in Europe had dropped below 25%. He added that contingency plans also included closing food and beverage outlets, floors and even entire hotels, as well as significant cuts in senior executive salaries, requiring temporary leaves in North America, shortening work weeks around the world and cancelling non-essential travel and spending.

GG Hospitality's Hotel Football and Stock Exchange hotel in Manchester will close temporarily from Sunday, with no staff being made redundant or put on unpaid leave.

The company said it is working with its team to "put a package in place for all staff members for the months ahead" and that, while health and safety remain the company's primary concern, "the economic situation of each individual team member is also being given utmost priority".

The properties will be used to accommodate Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust's healthcare workers and medical professionals.

GG Hospitality chief executive Winston Zahra said: "We are living in unprecedented times and we have taken these decisions in the most responsible way possible and in a way that supports our team members while also extending further support to the wider community and ensuring our business is stronger when things get back to normal".

Gary Neville, one of the main shareholders of GG Hospitality, added: "We have taken this decision as we believe in being proactive and decisive. We feel that we have a responsibility to protect our team members and as shareholders we have put together the resources to put us in the best position to do this. Our company's success is all down to our team and we feel it is critical that we look after everyone in these challenging times...

"We will reopen once the situation is declared safe and, in the meantime, we will do our utmost to ensure our team members are looked after and where possible we will help the wider community. These are not easy times, but we are confident we will come out on the other end stronger as a company and as a community".

Millennium & Copthorne's Millennium hotel at Chelsea Football Club is also working in partnership with the football club and NHS to provide accommodation for NHS staff.

Manorview announced yesterday that it was closing its eight hotels, with all staff on 50% salary, as did Hambleton Hall in Rutland, while two hotels that were due to open next month – the Pig at Harlyn Bay in Cornwall and Birch in Hertfordshire – have said openings will be delayed until the summer.

According to UKHospitality, one million jobs will be at risk across hospitality businesses if the government does not urgently introduce a plan to protect livelihoods.

One million jobs at risk in hospitality if government does not increase aid >>

Coronavirus: ‘Worst possible' situation as prime minister tells public to avoid hospitality businesses >>

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