By Barry Jenkins, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — Very few people are traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. So it came as no surprise that the Marriott Hartford Downtown will lay off 182 employees and reduce the hours of 21 employees by more than 50 percent, according to a letter filed with the Connecticut Department of Labor.
In the July 9 2020 letter, Febio Pari Di Monriva of the Waterford Group Hotel at the downtown Hartford location on Columbus Boulevard, cited ongoing struggles because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted reduced staff and possibly permanent closure.
Di Monriva stated that the downtown Marriott Hotel did not have sufficient resources or ample business to the hotel to continue its operation.
The layoffs began July 9 and are permanent, officials said. The reductions in hours are expected to last more than six months.
Before the full-throttle layoff, the hotel announced and implemented temporary, short-term furloughs and reductions in hours beginning March 17 when the state ceased at normal operations of businesses, announced school closures and prohibited nonessential workers from working in office buildings. People were required to stay home to be safe from the rapid spread of the virus. The unusual business closures were supposed to last less than six months, Di Monriva said.
However, hotel officials said, “…as things have developed, we are only now beginning to see the true impact of COVID-19 on the hotel’s business operations presently and into the future, which is much more detrimental than originally anticipated.”
They cited governmental restrictions on large gatherings, business, and travel in general as reasons for the loss of business. Only groups of 5 or fewer are allowed to gather in phase one of the state shutdown.
Hotel officials expected more business would have trickled in during the state’s Phase 2 re-opening. However, ” we are not seeing any meaningfully sustained increase in business levels in either the sort or long term at the present time.”
Hotel officials are also seeking financial relief from the state.