In a sign of the times for the struggling hotel industry, the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs has extended the temporary layoff of 65 employees.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, restrictions on travel and its operations have "severely" reduced the hotel's occupancy, according to a notice filed with the state.
The 316-room hotel furloughed all but 10 of its employees in March, when it closed for two months amid restrictions that shut down its restaurants and convention business. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, which manages the hotel, planned for the furloughs to last no more than six months, but extended them because the company expects the pandemic to affect its business "for the foreseeable future," according to the layoff notice filed this week with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
While the hotel on the city's southwest side reopened June 1, numerous government and health restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 have "made it impossible to return to full and regular operations," Wyndham said in the notice.
While June sales tax collections from Colorado Springs hotels and motels were down more than 70% from a year earlier, local hotels are slowly recovering from the impact of the pandemic. Hotel occupancy rebounded to 46.6% in June, the latest month available, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. That was up from 31.2% in May and a record low 18.1% in April, but it was still 40 percentage points lower than the 86.7% occupancy rate in June 2019. The Cheyenne Mountain Resort is not included in the report's Colorado Springs numbers, but instead is part of a separate "other resorts" category.
Cheyenne Mountain Resort is the latest local hotel to extend temporary layoffs or make them permanent. Dallas-based Spire Hospitality, which owns the Embassy Suites hotel on the north side of Colorado Springs, permanently laid off 57 furloughed employees on July 1 because its "recovery is not progressing as initially anticipated," the company said in the notice it filed June 26 with the department.
Jess Johnson, Cheyenne Mountain Resort's director of sales and marketing, did not respond to a telephone call Friday seeking comment on the hotel's notice.
The Broadmoor, Doubletree and Marriott hotels and Great Wolf Lodge all filed notices in late March and early April furloughing employees, but none have amended those notices to make the furloughs permanent layoffs.