Marriott Is Closing Hotels, Furloughing as Many as Tens of Thousands of Employees

Marriott is closing hotels and is furloughing what may become tens of thousands of employees as it contends with the drop in travel resulting from the coronavirus, a media report says.
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Marriott International  (MAR) - Get Report, says it’s starting to furlough what will likely total tens of thousands of workers, as the world’s largest hotel company deals with the plunge in travel that has resulted from the coronavirus.

Marriott is shuttering properties around the world. It began closing some of its managed properties last week, a spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. Workers at properties that remain open are being furloughed, too.

Those put on furlough will run the gamut from general managers to maids. The company isn’t implementing layoffs or furloughs for anyone at the corporate level, but that’s “under discussion,” the spokeswoman said.

The furloughed workers won’t be paid, but most will retain health-care benefits that are ultimately paid by the hotel owners, she told The Journal. Marriott doesn't own most of the hotels, she said.

The company said as many furloughed employees as possible will be offered a return to work when the coronavirus is under control and business revives. Marriott has 130,000 staffers in the U.S.

Many other companies will surely join it in jettisoning workers in coming days and weeks, as economic activity has slowed to a near halt.

Economists agree that a global recession either has begun already or will begin shortly. Morgan Stanley economists expect the global economy to contract 0.9% this year.

The coronavirus has infected 194,727 people globally and has killed 7,896 of them, according to Worldometer.

At last check Marriott shares traded at $78.89, down 8.7%. The stock dropped 29% in the 12 months through Monday, compared with an 11.2% decline for the S&P 500 index