A glimpse of the local layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic

State website posts notifications from businesses as workers are furloughed


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As federal, state, and local leaders talk about what it will take to reopen the nation’s economy, we are getting more of a picture of the specific toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on Jacksonville’s workforce.

Under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, businesses submit notifications to the state when jobs are lost under a number of circumstances, such as a permanent closure, or a mass layoff affecting 50 or more workers. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity posts those notices online after they are received.

Since social distancing measures began in mid-March, forcing many businesses to close or reduce their operations, roughly 300 of these notices have been submitted by businesses around the state. More than half are in the accommodation and food services industry.

Miller’s Ale House is one of the latest companies to notify the state of a mass furlough, which the company expects to be temporary. According to the notification letters, which are dated April 9 but just posted to the state’s website this week, hourly employees were furloughed March 21 and managers were furloughed March 29. These furloughs affected locations around the state, including Northeast Florida:

· Orange Park, 65 workers

· Deer Lake Court (Tinseltown area), 102 workers

· Southside Boulevard (Avenues Mall area), 78 workers

· San Jose Boulevard (Mandarin), 59 workers

Throughout the state, some of the well-known restaurants that have furloughed workers include Planet Hollywood in Orlando, Hooters locations around the Tampa area, and the La Carreta chain of Cuban restaurants around Miami.

Hotels have also notified the state of furloughs, due to the dramatic reduction in guests. Most of the notifications on the state site have come from hotels in tourism-heavy areas such as South Florida and the Orlando area. The drop in travel and tourism has also led to furloughs related to air travel, including airport concession workers in Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami. Also, up to 514 workers at an aircraft maintenance facility in Lake City could be laid off, through an action the company said could be permanent.

More than two dozen auto dealerships around the state have also furloughed workers. The Asbury Automotive Group, an owner of dealerships around Florida, notified the state on April 7 of furloughs that took place April 3. The company’s letter states the furloughs are expected to be temporary. The notices just posted to the state’s site this week, and include these dealerships in Northeast Florida:

· Coggin Ford, 22 workers

· Coggin Nissan Atlantic, 25 workers

· Coggin Honda Jacksonville, 41 workers

· Coggin Toyota, 37 workers

· Coggin Nissan Avenues, 28 workers

· Coggin Chevy, 30 workers

· Coggin GMC, 28 workers

· Coggin Honda St. Augustine, 18 workers

These furloughs are only a fraction of how many Florida workers have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In the four weeks that ended April 18, more than 1 million Floridians filed for unemployment benefits. Roughly half of those filings were in the final week of that span, as issues with the state unemployment website began to be resolved.