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Marriott plans to furlough thousands of workers globally, the DMV

"COVID-19 is having a much more severe and sudden financial impact on Marriott than 9/11 and the 2009 financial crisis combined," says Marriott CEO.

WASHINGTON — Tens and thousands of Marriott workers are being furloughed globally due to the economic impact the hotel chain has faced since the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Marriott spokesperson.

Arne Sorenson, Marriott International President, and CEO said the gatherings of people and required social distancing is having an immediate impact by depressing demand for hotels.

The effects of the global pandemic have led the hotel chain to furlough most of its associates and other staff starting April. In the U.S., they are putting in place temporary leaves for at least the next 60 to 90 days which will impact the majority of their associates at headquarters and other locations, Sorenson said.

Furloughed employees will be allowed to keep their health care and all other benefits, the company said. Employed staff will only receive 80 percent of their pay, but will have hours cut down to four days a week.

The Chairman and CEO will also be affected by financial cuts. They will no longer take a salary for the rest of the year and members of the executive team will take a 50 percent pay cut.

The company is working to manage their finances and have moved to suspend all non-essential travel. They've also announced a hiring freeze, with the exception of a small number of mission-critical positions. And they've stopped all hotel initiatives for 2020 during this pandemic.

Marriott has noticed a 90 percent decline in its business in China since COVID-19. Now that the virus has reached across the globe, in some areas, their businesses are running 75 percent below normal levels, according to Sorenson. He said COVID-19 is having a much more severe and sudden financial impact on their business than 9/11 and the 2009 financial crisis combined.

“The travel industry is being impacted in unprecedented ways by COVID-19. As the virus and efforts to contain it have spread around the world, demand at our hotels has dropped significantly. We are working tirelessly to take care of our associates, our guests, our owners, and our other key stakeholders. The situation is changing by the day and there is still tremendous uncertainty, but we feel it is important to share an update on some of what we have seen to date and describe key measures we are executing to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. While we cannot predict today how long this crisis will last, we know that it will get behind us. And when it does abate, lodging demand will rebound. We are confident that our company has the expertise and the resources to weather this crisis," said Sorenson.

The company has already moved to close a number of hotels in the U.S., but it's still unknown how many they will close in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The furlough is expected to impact about 130,000 Americans.

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