Coronavirus

Santa Cruz Tourism Industry Sees Major Layoffs

Beach Boardwalk owner issues 1,000 temporary layoffs

People play on the cliffs at Its Beach in Santa Cruz. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

With businesses fighting to stay alive during pandemic-induced shutdowns, the Santa Cruz Seaside Company, which owns the Beach Boardwalk, temporarily laid off 1,097 employees on May 1, state filings show.

Chaminade Resort and Spa, meanwhile, notified 173 employees of temporary layoffs on March 23, one week after Santa Cruz County announced its shelter-in-place order. Santa Cruz’s Dream Inn issued temporary layoffs to 193 workers on March 25.

Companies that employ at least 75 workers are required by state law to give employees at least a 60-day notice of layoffs or closures under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The WARN notice must also be submitted to the state.

However, a March executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom temporarily suspended the 60-day notice due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

These numbers are an unknown percentage of the total number of employees laid off because of the economic downturn, as employers with less than 75 workers do not have to file a notice.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) processed 615,809 unemployment benefit claims and paid $4.5 billion in benefits during the week ending on May 2. In total, between the week ending March 14 and May 2, the EDD processed a total of 4.1 million claims for benefits and paid a total of $8.9 billion in benefit payments.

The state unemployment filings show a wide spectrum of layoffs locally, afflicting everyone from Western Dental Services to the sex shop Good Vibrations. But the magnitude of layoffs was particularly acute in the tourism industry.

On May 8, Felton-based Roaring Camp Railroads laid off 48 workers due to its temporary closure.

Magazine Editor at Gilroy Dispatch |

Erik Chalhoub is an editor with New SV Media. Prior to joining the company in March 2019, he worked for seven years at The Pajaronian in Watsonville, the last four as managing editor. He is an alumnus of UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College.

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