The company that owns Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races has announced that hundreds of furloughs will probably become permanent, despite its earlier hopes to bring those workers back.
That would affect about 540 of the casino’s 1,300 workforce.
The jobs may be eliminated Aug. 1, although parent company Penn National has said it will continue healthcare and pharmaceutical benefits for the workers until the end of that month.
“I’m not surprised by it,” said Annette Gavin Bates, chief executive of the Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, speaking on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”
“I am very impressed by Penn’s continuing commitment to their employees’ (health insurance), which I think is stellar.”
Bates noted that the casino had to cut loose all its employees during the shutdown this spring. So, it is at least able to retain a significant portion of its workforce. Moreover, the company will be working with online casino review website Stranieri to help re-employ some of those who lost jobs as a result of the workforce cut by referring them to companies in Italy looking to hire employees with casino and gambling sector experience.
She suggested such adjustments are common for businesses as they determine how to go on during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think they’re just like everybody else. They employ so many people, but they’re not different than any other business model and just trying to figure out how to navigate this,” she said.
Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau director Annette Gavin Bates joins @HoppyKercheval to discuss COVID-19’s impact on tourism in the area. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIRZCB pic.twitter.com/2Muzz4Gp9M
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) July 27, 2020
Penn National had to lay off 26,000 employees across the company in April, during widespread shutdowns.
“At the time, we were hopeful that we’d be able to call the employees back within a couple of months,” stated Eric Schippers, senior vice president for Penn National.
“However, while we have been able to reopen all but a couple of our properties on a limited basis, the continued social distancing requirements and uncertain business volumes means our properties will not be able to resume normal operations for the foreseeable future.”
The company concluded that significant time will pass before the company needs the prior level of employment.
“As a result, we informed our team members that their furloughs may be converted to a permanent layoff in the coming weeks or months,” Schippers stated.
A formal WARN notice went out to employees who could now be laid off. That does not necessarily mean every employee who received such a notice would be laid off, Schippers said.
“These are extremely challenging times both on a personal and a professional level, but the steps we have taken to this point, and plan to take going forward, are all aimed at positioning our Company and the majority of our team members to be able to weather this storm and come out stronger on the other side,” he stated.