Seminole Hard Rock Rock Hotel and Casino announces layoffs of more than 1,500 workers

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Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Hollywood has announced layoffs affecting 1,527 workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hotel’s parent company, Seminole Gaming, said workers have been on indefinite leave since March 20, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification filed Aug. 31 with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. While some employees were called back to work in June, recent spikes in the virus across the state and in South Florida have limited the company’s ability to fully resume operations.

As a result, more than 1,500 workers remain laid off. If things stay the same, the notification said, the layoffs could become permanent.

The layoffs include 150 table game dealers, 127 banquet servers, 115 poker dealers, more than 100 bartenders, and 80 greeters. Many of those affected worked at the Hard Rock Live concert venue, which remains closed.

In a statement, the Seminole tribe said it hopes to rehire many of the workers, and that many are already back at work.

The owners added that affected workers received two weeks of continuous pay after the complex closed March 20. They were also able to use accrued paid time off, received additional paid time off and could borrow against future paid time off, which was forgiven.

Health insurance has also continued to be paid through the end of September, it said, and Seminole Gaming has distributed grocery store gift cards to employees making less than $50,000 per year.

While the number of new workers filing for unemployment in Florida continues to fall, the number of new layoff notices filed with the state, especially from travel and hospitality firms, continues to be steady.

Other recent layoff notices include ones filed by Airport Management Services and Hudson Group, which signaled 125 new layoffs Sept. 1 affecting workers at Miami International and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airports; Pullman Hotels and Resorts, which said 70 workers would be affected; the Hyatt Regency Miami with 72 workers affected; and the Faena Hotel Miami Beach with 73 workers affected.

The ongoing layoffs reflect continued weakness in the hospitality industry nationwide. Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a month-on-month slowdown in new jobs added in leisure and hospitality. While the sector added 621,000 new jobs from June to July, it added 174,000 new jobs from July to August. The sector remains more than four million jobs short of its August 2019 peak.

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