The owners of the Isle of Capri and Lady Luck casinos in Black Hawk have informed the state that they will furlough 470 workers as a result of closures tied to the COVID-19 outbreak in Colorado.
“This emergency and these sudden and unexpected circumstances caused the temporary facility closure and adversely affected our business operations,” Christopher Cowen, the interim human resources director for the two casinos, wrote in a letter filed with the Colorado Department of Labor under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
The second biggest WARN filing made public on Monday, at 145 workers, came from Prospect Airport Services, a Des Plaines, Ill., company that provides skycap and baggage services at airports across the country.
Even though Denver International Airport remains open, traffic is down by 90% and the company said it was furloughing 38 skycaps, 94 passenger service assistants, seven dispatchers, three recruiters, a pair of supervisors and one baggage handler.
“It is the company’s hope that these layoffs will not affect all DEN operations and will only be temporary in nature,” wrote Philip Lee, a senior vice president of employee relations and human resources at the company.
Quality Italian, a restaurant at 241 Columbine St. in Cherry Creek, informed the state it had released 92 workers, effective March 31. It joins a long list of restaurants that have had to shed staff.
“This decision was not an easy one and the company reviewed all options available before deciding to conduct these terminations at our restaurant,” wrote Michael Stillman, president of 245 Italian Beverage LLC, which owns the restaurant.
Almost all of WARN letters to the state since March involve a furlough and in some cases a layoff, made with an assumption that workers will come back once things improve. But Sonder USA, based in San Francisco, said it had dismissed 79 employees and permanently closed its guest experience office at the North Valley Tech Center, 500 E. 84th Ave. in Thornton.
Sonder, which bills itself as a next-generation hospitality company, provides high-end short-term rentals. Last summer it raised $210 million in private equity, pushing its valuation up to above $1 billion, into “unicorn” levels. But even unicorns need to eat, and with much of the world on a lockdown, short-term rental providers are starving.
The state also received WARN filings from Fort Lupton and Nederland. Fort Lupton let go of an undisclosed number of part-time workers at its recreation center and golf course, while Nederland furloughed three workers at its community center.
Normally, governmental layoffs are among the last to come in a downturn, after local tax revenues have dried up and payrolls get trimmed. But the closure of community centers is speeding up some dismissals.
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