HONOLULU (KHON2) — More workers in the hotel industry are facing layoffs and extended furloughs. So far in June, more than a dozen hotels have notified the state that they will be either terminating employees or extending their furloughs, leaving thousands of people out of work.
The latest hotel on the list is the Trump International Hotel in Waikiki, which will furlough and cut back hours for about 159 employees for at least six months.
Other hotels are cutting back staff permanently.
Some of the biggest layoffs this month come from Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, which has eliminated 148 employees out of its 160. Courtyard by Marriott has eliminated 75 positions from its 94. Park Shore Waikiki told the state its terminating 60 of its 64 employees.
“It’s really scary and alarming to [hear] that some hotels are laying off their workers already,” said Mary Taboniar, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki housekeeper.
Mary Taboniar, a housekeeper at Hilton Hawaiian Village, has been on furlough since March, and she like many others, is still waiting for the call to return to work.
“I have to go back to work because I’m a single mom you know,” said Taboniar: “It’s scary because the Covid-19 virus is still out there and our job is still uncertain, when are we coming back.”
Senator Brian Taniguchi, vice chair of the senate committee that oversees tourism said to kickstart the tourism economy again, the focus needs to be on lifting the quarantine and ensuring public safety.
He’s backing pre and post-testing for passengers.
“We need something quicker. We need to be able to test either prior to them leaving accurately, being certified and when they come to Hawaii probably another test,” said Taniguchi.
In the meantime, he and other senate members are trying to figure out how to help those still unemployed. One thing he said they’re working on is aiding people in rent.
“We know a lot of people are impacted, hotel workers, restaurant workers, we’re providing them rental assistance because most of them are renters,” said Taniguchi.
Taniguchi said he believes it will be a slow recovery, but it will start with the governor’s plan for reopening travel, which hasn’t been revealed yet.