More Layoffs Impacting South Florida Amid Pandemic

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Industries across the country have taken a hit due to COVID-19, and in South Florida, hospitality, leisure and retail are reporting layoffs.

Nationally, big names like Best Buy and Disney have announced furloughs. Best Buy announced they were furloughing 51,000 hourly workers. Disney announced they would be furloughing 43,000 workers.

“Technically I am still employed with them, I am just laid off and they don’t have any hours for me,” Violet Holland said.

Holland says she was laid off from a retail job in March. Her husband, she says, was also laid off. They have two kids and one on the way.

“It’s scary to wake up every day and to see my kids and not know when daycare is going to kick back in, not knowing if we will be able to do anything, because there is no money coming in,” Holland said.

A look at recent letters sent to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity show restaurants, hotels and transportation companies reporting recent lay-offs due to COVID-19.

On Miami Beach, SLS South Beach Hotel reported in a letter to the state a total of 340 employees will be laid off by May 1st.

Brightline management laid off 262 employees.

The restaurant chain Benihana reported layoffs at several south Florida locations.

In a letter to the state, the restaurant chain stated they “hope to rehire as many employees as possible once business levels return to normal after the coronavirus pandemic ends.”

Holland has applied for reemployment assistance, but she has not received her benefits yet.

Sunday, Governor Ron DeSantis offered reassurances to those still waiting for reemployment assistance.

“You suddenly get laid off it’s tough, especially if you have bills to pay, especially if you have kids,” DeSantis said.

He pointed to additional employees and other changes as improvements to what he called a “bad system.”

“They can be reassured that there has never been more manpower dedicated to a single economic problem, certainly since I have been Governor, but I bet you in the state’s history,” DeSantis said.

For Holland, she just hopes her benefits kick in sooner than later.

“It’s a really scary situation, you have no idea what will happen next."

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