Public filings with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment under the state’s WARN Act paint a very bleak picture of Eagle County’s job losses and temporary layoffs in the resort and hospitality industry.
Just four hotel properties are accounting for nearly 700 permanent or temporary layoffs, according to letters and documents filed pursuant to the state’s WARN Act.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, citing temporary closure starting March 20 due to public health orders stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, reported 243 layoffs. The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, as of a June 4 filing, cited 240 layoffs.
The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Hotel on May 30 reported 110 permanent or temporary layoffs or furloughs, and the Arrebelle at Vail Square on April 6 reported 82 layoffs.
That’s a total of 675 job losses and helps explain why Eagle County’s unemployment rate in April was well ahead of the state average at more than 20%.
According to the state of Colorado, “The Worker Readjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) is a law that requires employers to provide employees experiencing employment loss with a 60-day notice prior to a layoff, although some exceptions apply. The WARN protects workers, their families, and communities from the impact of mass layoffs.”
“We were hopeful that the restrictions and associated loss in revenue would be temporary,” Herb Rackliff, general manager of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa, wrote in a May 30 WARN Act letter addressed to the county commissioners, town of Avon, local business leaders and the Department of Labor.
“Since that time, it has recently become apparent that there will be longer-term revenue impacts as a result of the continued spread of the virus, extensions of various government-mandated ‘shelter-in-place’ and ‘mass gathering’ orders, cancellation of conferences and events, and significant decline in travel, all of which have resulted in the sudden and unexpected effective shutdown of much of our business,” Rackliff added.