Peabody lays off 57 workers

By , Daily Memphian Updated: September 02, 2020 4:19 PM CT | Published: September 02, 2020 10:44 AM CT

The Peabody has laid off 57 previously furloughed workers amid the travel industry’s continuing struggles because of COVID-19.

The hotel at 149 Union Ave. notified the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that the permanent layoffs were effective Friday, Aug. 28.

The employees were among hundreds furloughed by the Peabody Hotel Group after the pandemic hit in March and room occupancy plummeted.

The hotel had since brought back more than 100 employees from furloughs as business conditions improved.

“However, we now know that certain aspects of the hospitality business won’t return to previous levels for some time and, with that in mind, we had to make the tough decision to permanently release many of our remaining furloughed associates,” hotel spokeswoman Kelly Brock said.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our business, and on the hotel and restaurant industry as a whole. Unfortunately, layoffs and working with reduced staffs are just a fact in our industry right now, but it’s also incredibly sad for our Peabody family to have to part ways with teammates who we have worked side-by-side with for years,” Brock said.

Jobless toll mounts as hotels furlough, eateries close

More than 51,000 people in Memphis and nearly 82,000 in the metropolitan area were unemployed in July, when the metro unemployment rate reached 13%, the highest since COVID-19 hit.

Lack of business in the hospitality and restaurant industries have been a major factor in the job losses.

The Peabody’s layoffs came as the national hotel industry issued a grim assessment of COVID-19’s impact on hotels.

Pent-up leisure demand keeps hotels afloat

The American Hotel & Lodging Association reported Monday half the country’s hotel rooms are still empty, with occupancy of 38% in urban markets and 45% near airports. It said 14% of hotel rooms were booked for Labor Day weekend, compared to 41% a year ago.

COVID-19 credit crunch could shrink hotel pipeline

The association also said 33% of Americans reported traveling overnight for leisure or vacation since March and only 38% said they’re likely to travel by the end of the year.


The Peabody hotel and lodging industry travel and tourism American Hotel & Lodging Association COVID-19
Wayne Risher

Wayne Risher

Business news reporter, 43-year veteran of print journalism, 35-year resident of Memphis, University of Georgia alumnus and proud father and spouse of University of Memphis graduates.


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