Hawks Cay Resort Layoffs Affect 260 Employees
Hurricane Irma’s devastation of Florida’s coast has deeply affected the state’s tourism business. The Hawks Cay Resort layoffs are the latest Irma-led layoffs to hit Florida’s hospitality industry. Florida already lost over 127,000 jobs in September because of the hurricane, and more job cuts have followed as many businesses find it hard to get back on their feet.
The Hawks Cay Resort, located in the Florida Keys, is laying off almost all of its employees after Hurricane Irma left it reeling. The four-star resort, spanning 60 acres and including luxury villas and hotel rooms, has been closed down for restoration.
The reconstruction process is expected to go on through the summer of next year, which means the resort will not be operational through the peak tourist season. Consequently, management has decided to lay off the staff instead of keeping them on the resort’s payroll through the restoration phase.
The affected employees include housekeepers, cooks, servers, stewards, recreational attendants, engineers, and management-level employees, including the director of rooms and the human resources manager.
Hawks Cay Layoffs Add to Numbers of Florida Hospitality Industry Layoffs
Florida’s southern coast is a hot tourist attraction. The state, which is the fourth-largest economy in the U.S., generates a substantial portion of its revenue from tourism and hospitality. Florida’s hospitality and tourism industry is a $90.0-billion sector that employs about 1.4 million people.
Monroe County, which includes the islands of the Florida Keys, generates about $2.7 billion in revenue every year and employs about 54% of its population in the hospitality industry. Seasonal employment peaks during the summers, which is when the restaurants, hotels, and resorts in the Keys generate most of their business.
While the Florida mainland largely remained safe from infrastructure damage during Hurricane Irma, the Florida Keys didn’t. The buildings and other infrastructure in the Keys faced severe destruction, which is delaying the resumption of local business.
Hawks Cay is just one of the resorts forced to undertake restoration measures before it reopens. The resort is likely to continue losing money next year, since the final date for reopening remains uncertain. The potential loss of revenue in the upcoming tourist season is what has partly triggered the Hawks Cay layoffs.
“Florida, Texas Lose 135,000 Jobs, But Are Set for a Rally,” The Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2017.
“Keys resort Hawks Cay lays off 260 employees due to devastation from Hurricane Irma,” Miami Herald, October 23, 2017.