Coronavirus-hit hospitality industry in ‘fight for survival’ as workers take brunt of job losses

Hotels that have closed may never reopen

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American Hotel & Lodging Assocation President Chip Rogers is raising the alarm about the hospitality industry's "fight for survival" after nearly half of all jobs lost in April were in that sector.

"When you look at the numbers and realize we had more jobs lost in industry than in retail, construction, manufacturing, education and others combined it becomes a real question of if the industry is going to survive in the short term and what it will look like in the long term," Rogers told FOX Business.

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The hospitality and leisure industry lost more than 7.6 million jobs ⁠— 47 percent of all jobs lost last month because of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown measures. News of furloughs and then layoffs have rippled through hotel chains including Hyatt, which said Monday it would lay off 1,300 employees worldwide.

Rogers said he doesn't anticipate a full recovery for the hotel industry until 2022 and predicts more job losses in May. Some hotels, like extended-stay hotels, are surviving the economic contraction, but many urban hotels that rely on business and convention guests are hit the hardest, along the with the hundreds of people they typically employ.

A man wears a mask as he walks past the Ritz-Carlton Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Boeing CEO David Calhoun said Tuesday he believes at least one major airline will fold because of the virus. Rogers doesn't believe any familiar hotel brands will disappear but anticipates that plenty of individual franchisees will have to shut down.

The business travel that keeps much of the hotel industry afloat isn't guaranteed to restart this year, and Rogers hopes lawmakers will notice the plight of hotel and restaurants.

"The original [Paycheck Protection Program] contemplated a short time period for recovery. Lawmakers now recognize that time is much longer," he said. "Those that are hurt the most should be the top priority. … The job losses overshadow every other industry. We hope we would get the attention necessary to help these employees."

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