SPRINGFIELD (CBS/CNN) — MGM Resorts is reportedly laying off 18,000 employees it previously put on furlough in response to coronavirus spreading across the United States and causing a near-total travel shutdown. The layoffs include 1,000 MGM Springfield employees, WBZ-TV has confirmed.
The layoffs are effective beginning Monday and represent 25% of its 70,000-strong workforce, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to a letter from CEO Bill Hornbuckle, the affected employees could be rehired if travel demand returns. They will also retain their health benefits until the end of September.
“While the immediate future remains uncertain, I truly believe that the challenges we face today are not permanent,” Hornbuckle wrote in the letter. “The fundamentals of our industry, our company and our communities will not change. Concerts, sports and awe-inspiring entertainment remain on our horizon.”
MGM Springfield is telling 1,000 employees that their jobs are likely not coming back soon.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to impact many businesses, including our own. Due to the mandated capacity restrictions and business demand, many of our amenities and venues remain closed for the time being,” MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley wrote in a letter to employees. “With these positions currently unavailable, it has not been possible to bring back all of our team members.”
There is a chance that some local workers will be able to regain their jobs, Kelley said.
“While I understand this is difficult to hear, I want you to know that as we progress through our phased reopening, team members separated today will remain on our recall list, and we have established a system to welcome them back based on business needs, position, and seniority,” he wrote.
MGM Springfield reopened on July 13. But the casino’s hotel remains closed and regulators have not allowed Massachusetts casinos to bring back table games like craps and roulette.
To put it simply, Las Vegas has been crushed by the coronavirus. The number of visitors declined 61% in July from a year ago, and its convention attendance fell to zero, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Resorts have been reopening slowly since they were given the greenlight in June, but visitors don’t have a ton of options to entertain themselves with because of the lack of shows, concerts and sporting events.
MGM Resorts and its competitors also make a lot of money from conferences in Las Vegas. Those have also been put on hold because of local restrictions on large gatherings of people that would cause Covid-19 to spread.
Federal law requires companies to send furlough employees layoff notices after six months. MGM Resorts has a bulk of its business in Las Vegas, with a few other resorts and casinos across the US.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN’s Jordan Valinsky contributed to this report.)