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July 15, 2020

Sheraton Bradley hotel announces 91 layoffs

Photo | Contributed Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

The Sheraton Hartford Hotel at Bradley Airport announced plans to lay off 91 workers, as business continues to sag amid the COVID-19 pandemic with no end in sight.

Employees who will be laid off are non-union workers in positions from accounting and finance coordinator to laundry attendant, Kristen Pikula, director of operations for Waterford-based Waterford Hotel Group -- which manages the Sheraton Bradley -- wrote in a letter to Connecticut's Department of Labor.

"We are now only beginning to see the true impact of COVID-19 on the hotel's business operations, … which is much more detrimental than originally anticipated," Pikula wrote in the WARN notice dated July 9.

Beginning March 17, shortly after Gov. Ned Lamont closed businesses across the state and banned large events -- including business meetings and weddings -- due to the coronavirus, the Sheraton Bradley started temporary layoffs and furloughs, which the company believed would last about six months, Pikula said. 

However, even after Lamont greenlighted a phase two reopening on June 17, allowing hotels to reopen, the Sheraton Hartford Hotel hasn’t seen much of an increase in activity. 

"While we had anticipated the state's Phase 2 reopening would have resulted in increased business demand, we are not seeing any meaningfully sustained increase in business levels," Pikula wrote, adding that there's no telling how long people will be reluctant to travel and stay in hotels.

The airport itself is recovering passengers slowly since the COVID-19 pandemic led to a drastic decrease in passenger traffic. In the weeks following mid-March shutdowns of most Connecticut businesses, Bradley saw passenger traffic drop by 98%. As of last month, Bradley was down about 75% from last year.

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