Columbus workforce continues to see COVID-19 impact months after the economy shutdown

Workforce continues to see COVID-19 impact months after the economy shutdown

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As the economy continues to reopen throughout the U.S., we’re still seeing impacts of COVID-19 on jobs.

Big companies like United Airlines are furloughing employees while Ford is looking to cut 14,000 jobs.

Aflac’s communications director said they have nothing to report on job cutbacks and about 97 percent of employees are working from home. A spokesperson for Synovus said they haven’t had any COVID-related furloughs or job cuts.

However, that’s not the case for all companies.

“Valley got hit pretty hard by COVID-19 in the beginning,” said Cassie Myers, Valley Hospitality’s director of PR and Marketing.

Valley Hospitality in Columbus is still seeing the impacts of COVID-19 months after closing all nine of its hotels and two of three restaurants in March.

“Unfortunately, we had to furlough a decent amount of our workforce. Thankfully, we’ve been able to bring over 50 percent of our workforce back and we’re trying to get people back to work as quickly as possible everyday. While we have furloughed people, we have still allowed them to stay on insurance,” said Myers

Myers said they just recently opened all of their hotels back up and all restaurants except Houlihan’s in the downtown Marriott.

“We’re just starting to see that steady increase of visitors and tourism back to Columbus that has given us the ability to reopen those hotels,” Myers said.

Although one of Valley Hospitality’s restaurants is still closed and their hotels are not at full capacity, Myers said seeing the demand pick back up gives them some hope.

“It’s something that we’re not familiar with and are kind of navigating as we go, and trying to do the best that we can and really be there and take care of our employees because we want all of them back. We need all of them back. We hope the demand picks back up where we can have every single person that we had prior to March come back and join the team again,” she explained.

The Marriott downtown was the last of their hotels to reopen. Once the demand picks back up, Myers said she expects Houlihans to reopen.

Brian Sillitto with the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce said the biggest impacts he’s seen COVID-19 have on businesses is in the commercial and retail sector.

“I think we all see that when we venture out to eat, whether it’s reduced capacity at restaurants or people doing curbside pickups or drive thru-only with the dining room closed. That all has a ripple effect throughout the economy,” Sillitto said.

Sillitto said businesses in the Corporate Ridge Business Park involved in manufacturing and assembly are being impacted by the supply chain due to the pandemic. But, he said the good news is that there are companies still hiring right now.

Copyright 2020 WTVM. All rights reserved.