MYRTLE BEACH – The South Carolina Department of Employment and Manpower reports 139 layoffs in Horry and Georgetown counties between November and January.
There will be 35 permanent layoffs at VSE Myrtle Beach LLC, which operates the Sheraton Broadway Plantation, between November and January, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Notice dated November 16.
The DEW report also shows the 104 impending layoffs at Liberty Steel in Georgetown. The 50-year-old factory closed six months ago after the COVID-19 pandemic reduced U.S. demand for steel products and hurt manufacturing activity. A notice filed with DEW said plant employees would no longer report to the plant as of October 28, but will receive pay and benefits until December 28.
The number of Sheraton employees affected by the layoffs has fluctuated since September and some have been delayed until late January 2021, according to the WARN notice sent to officials in Myrtle Beach and Horry County.
Anthony Vazquez, vice president of human resources on behalf of VSE Myrtle Beach, LLC, said the impacts are due to the “sudden, dramatic and, unfortunately, continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” which forced the business to suffer “huge and unexpected financial losses.”
âThe vast scope of the coronavirus outbreak, along with the declaration of a national emergency and various government directives for individuals to avoid congregating, restrict movement and limit occupation were unpredictable and caused, and will continue to cause, among other things, a drastic impact on our business, âVazquez wrote. âSpecifically, resort occupancy levels and sales tours have been drastically reduced due to (the) state of South Carolina the repeated issuance of emergency guidelines starting in March and which remain in effect. force today and the increase in coronavirus cases in July and August in October and November 2020 continues to impact operations. “
Ed Kinney, global vice president of corporate affairs and communications for Sheraton, said the overall viability of the 111 Sheraton vacation properties around the world remains in a state of health.
âKeep in mind that we are a vacation property and not a hotel so we are operating at a fairly good level of occupancy due to (of) its owners,â Kinney said. âSome of the things could be related to these reduced amounts from normal. It can also be state-imposed equipment that must be shut down for a certain period of time or programs. There are a variety of things that can happen. The good thing is that we are doing extremely well. As a vacation owner, he has consistency between arriving guests versus the expectation of passing guests.
Kinney said there could also be a mismatch between the report and what the property is actually experiencing.
âWe’re entering our holiday seasonâ¦ so we’re pretty well up and running,â he said. âI think these reports are a bit out of date. So they’re not as real-time as our location is, but I’m happy to say that many owners still come to visit the property there and our other Myrtle Beach property, the Marriott Vacation property next to the hotel. Marriott. “