Pandemic Puts N.Y.C. Hotels on the Brink: ‘A Complete Washout’


“This is difficult and really frustrating because we are dying to go back to work,” said Ms. Marino, who said she was four months pregnant with her first child. “We love our jobs.”

Ms. Marino said she and her husband, residents of the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, had gotten by on unemployment benefits, including the $600 weekly supplemental benefits from the federal government that ran out in July. They were awaiting three weeks’ worth of the $300 payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that President Trump arranged.

Their health care benefits had been scheduled to expire at the end of August, but union officials obtained an extension, paid for by the hotels, through the end of the year. That deal spared two of the clinics the union’s health fund operates, one in Harlem and one in Brooklyn, that were slated to close in October.

“We need health care,” Ms. Marino said.

Tom Blundell, the general manager of the Hyatt Centric, said he has been making a decision toward the end of each month about when a reopening seems feasible. “It’s kind of a moving target,” he said.

He recently set Nov. 10 as the date but said in an interview that reopening then would hinge on a relaxation of the state’s quarantine rules, for one thing. Ending the ban on international travelers is also critical to restoring the hotel to profitability, he added.

“That would get us back to a place where we could really fight for survival,” he said. “With all of those things in place, there’s really not a fight to put up.”

Almost all of the hotel’s 225 employees have been laid off since March. Mr. Blundell said he keeps them apprised of his plans but does not know how many he would call back to work, or when. He said he was uncertain about whether the hotel’s restaurant or its rooftop bar, where Ms. Marino and her husband work, would open when the hotel does.



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