Source : The Hill

Marriott International Inc. will begin to furlough tens of thousands of employees amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Marriott official confirmed Tuesday.

The largest hotel company in the world is experiencing “significant drops in demand” at its hotels during the outbreak, spokesman Brendan McManus said in a statement. “We are adjusting global operations accordingly which has meant either reduction in hours or a temporary leave for many of our associates at our properties,” he said in a statement.

Employees would retain their health benefits if furloughed, but they wouldn’t be paid.“We are working quickly to mitigate the impact to our business while also focusing on assisting our associates, our guests and our owners,” he said.

“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.”The Wall Street Journal first reported Tuesday that the hotel company that runs 1.4 million rooms worldwide and employs 130,000 people in the U.S. would furlough some of its employees. McManus confirmed the Journal’s reporting.

A spokeswoman told the Journal that the Marriott began closing properties last week and reducing staff through furloughs at properties that are still open. 

The staff reductions cover positions from general managers to housekeepers. The company pledged it would plan to bring back as many furloughed employees as possible after the virus is contained, according to the newspaper. 

Hotel business has been gravely affected by the COVID-19 spread, with some hotel capacities only reaching 20 percent, while others remain in the single digits.

Hundreds of hotels in the country are expected to close Tuesday or later this week, owners told the Journal.Hotel executives and owners say the many travel cancellations and government-mandated travel restrictions have affected business.

The U.S. has limited travel from China, Iran and Europe, including the U.K. 

The executives are scheduled to meet with President Trump on Tuesday to talk about a possible government response, including potential financial assistance, people familiar with the matter told the newspaper.

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