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Hotel Workers Continue To Bear Brunt Of COVID-19 Job Losses

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - With the city's bustle all but gone, hotel guests are missing too. It's evident by the recent layoffs of 51 workers at the Crown Plaza Northstar Downtown hotel.

"I think it's hitting all parts of the industry," said Wade Luneburg,

Luneberg is political director for Unite Here Local 17. Of his union's 8,000 working members in the hospitality industry, 85 to 90 percent of them are unemployed.

"Some hotels have been closed for a period of time totally. Some are taking care of housing insecure folks, otherwise we're seeing occupancy rates of anywhere from five, ten, to fifteen percent," he said.

Without bookings, hotel cleaners, cooks, and clerks aren't needed. And while the pandemic's still here, many of those are seeing their unemployment support gone.

"We're assuming there will be housing insecurity just around the corner, also food insecurity," Luneburg explained.

According to state unemployment data, after peaking in early May, hospitality workers are gradually returning. The industry's trade group, Hospitality Minnesota, said it continues to suffer from a lack events, like Twins baseball.

Liz Rammer, director of Hospitality Minnesota, said "some of the hotels we know are still closed, their occupancy rates are way down. There's no corporate travel, no sporting events, concerts, nothing to bring people to the metro core."

One exception might be gaming. At Running Aces harness track and casino, 25 hotel workers are finally back on the job.

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