Hospitality executive who had to lay off 60 calls on government: 'We need your help'

A nationwide hospitality company's regional director, who personally had to inform a portion of the thousands of associates furloughed from their jobs with the company, said that she is struggling to compare it with anything that came before.

"I have been in the hospitality industry for 30 years," Sandy Robnett, a Remington Hotels regional director and HR business partner, said in a statement to Texas Business Daily. "I've been through 9-11, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and recessions, but the last two days have been the most difficult of my career."

Robnett said she had to inform more than 60 associates - without notice - that they were being furloughed indefinitely.

"No one seemed really surprised because they're watching the news and they know what is going on in the world." Robnett said. "They also see an empty parking lot and an empty hotel."

Sandy Robnett, Remington Hotels regional director and HR business partner.  

The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented Robnett said.

"Hotel people are tough - we work when other people play," Robnett said. "We provide a refuge and a meal for people during hurricanes, floods, ice storms, you name it. Somehow we get to work, cook meals, serve drinks and provide clean rooms with great service. But this has devastated us."

Robnett recalled a few of the associates who found out from her that they were unemployed.

"Mike told me that his wife had also lost her job and was trying to figure out how he won't lose his home," Robnett said. "Keith's wife was just diagnosed with cancer so he's scared he won't be able to take care of her and all are wondering how they'll feed and clothe their children."

Robnett called upon government to help people like the associates she personally laid off and people like her.

"We need your help," she said. "We need someone to take care of us this time."

Remington, founded in 1968, is a hotel management company that also provides providing property management services. Its hospitality wing manages 86 hotels in 26 states across 17 brands.

"Remington Hotels is struggling in the face of the coronavirus," Remington Hotels President and CEO Sloan Dean III said in a statement.

The chain has been hit hard by COVID-19, which has sunk its business to "beyond depression levels" and Remington anticipates losses this year in the hundreds of millions, Dean said.

"Most all of our 6800 associates are furloughed," he said, adding that the entire situation is a "disaster."

Remington Hotels expects hotels that it manages to run at 90 percent lower occupancy levels in April 2020, compared to the same month last year, Dean said.

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