Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is laying off 1,100 employees

With the professional athletes gone, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is laying off about 1,100 employees because of low occupancy and canceled events in another hit to the tourism industry because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs are coming after Major League players stayed there this summer.

The Marriott hotel between Epcot and Hollywood Studios called the economic impact “historic, swift and devastating” as it alerted the state as a requirement under federal law for mass layoffs.

The entire Swan portion of the hotel had been home to MLS teams who were staying there in the “bubble” in July and August as they played in a tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports.

NBA players also became guests at other Disney hotels when the league restarted play in Orlando amid the pandemic.

Even though all Orlando’s theme parks are open, September has been a brutal time for the industry as thousands of employees have recently been let go or placed on indefinite furloughs.

New notices filed this week showed 5,400 Universal employees are furloughed and 1,900 employees at SeaWorld’s Orlando properties are now permanently laid off after being furloughed since March.

The Swan and Dolphin warned the economic impact will carry over into 2021.

The 1,136 positions are in multiple departments of the hotel, including 256 banquet servers, 41 cooks, 67 housekeepers and 88 loss prevention officers. The notice said the layoffs are permanent and effective Nov. 13.

Included are about 135 union employees represented by Teamsters Local 385 who work primarily as servers, housekeepers and laundry attendants. Those employees may be among the first to return if the hotel reverses course and brings back jobs.

At 11%, metro Orlando had the highest regional unemployment rate in the state in August, according to a report released Friday.

Layoffs in Central Florida keep piling up

In the spring, as the new coronavirus began to spread throughout Central Florida, companies began shedding employees and Congress rushed in to provide some short-term relief.

Not knowing how severe the outbreak would become and how long its grip on the tourism-dependent region would last, executives hoped things would go back to normal soon.

But the layoffs haven’t stopped, and the calls to Congress for more help for the jobless and for the hotels, theme parks and other businesses that employed them have gone unanswered. It’s further evidence of the stark message Florida’s chief economist, Amy Baker, delivered to lawmakers Thursday that Florida tourism will take potentially three years to recover from this crisis.

In August alone, thousands more people were laid off or placed on furlough in Central Florida, mostly from hotels, according to a review of the state’s database.

The Hilton Orlando on Destination Parkway extended furloughs for 605 employees. The Orlando World Center Marriott laid off 601, saying it doesn’t expect occupancy to pick up until 2021. Eight Universal hotels, many of which have closed, furloughed or laid off 2,130 people.

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Central Florida dominates state jobless rate ranks

Central Florida, a tourism-dependent region walloped by the coronavirus pandemic, hold four of the top seven highest unemployment rates for July, according to state figures.
Osceola and Orange rank first and second, while Polk is fourth and Lake is seventh. Statewide, 11.3% of workers were unemployed. Here’s a look at county-bycounty jobless numbers for the month.

Osceola County: 20.2 percent
Orange County: 16.1percent
■ Miami-Dade County: 14.2 percent
Polk County: 13.2 percent
Broward County:13.1percent
■ Hendry County:13 percent
Lake County: 12.4 percent
■ Palm Beach County: 11.6 percent
■ Citrus County:11.2 percent
■ St. Lucie County:11percent
■ Hernando County:10.9 percent
■ Putnam County:10.9 percent
■ Hamilton County:10.7 percent
■ Lee County:10.7 percent
Seminole County: 10.5 percent
Volusia County: 10.5 percent


Continue reading “Central Florida dominates state jobless rate ranks”