On March 19, AHLA President & CEO Dave Kaiser met by telephone with the Honourable Jason Copping, Minister of Labour & Immigration. The Minister wanted to fully understand how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting Alberta hotels. The AHLA identified a number of impacts, including:
- Massive layoffs of employees in properties of all sizes in all regions of the province. Some properties have reported layoffs of 50-80% of staff, with many more expected.
- Food & beverage staff are being impacted to an even greater extent because of the recent closure of bars and nightclubs.
- Some hotels have already closed, and more closures are expected, depending on the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
- Liquidity and credit are top concerns.
- AHLA is supporting Alberta’s entire hotel industry, not just its members.
The AHLA asked the Minister to:
- Reduce notice periods and extend the maximum duration of temporary layoffs under the Employment Standards Code.
- Consider lowering or temporarily suspending the minimum wage.
- Provide more information and a single point of contact at Occupational Health & Safety regarding safe work protocols for staff who may be in contact with guests who are self-isolating or who have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Designate a single point of contact for Employment Standards inquiries.
- Provide more information about protocols for hotels that may be selected for quarantine facilities.
The Minister took seriously our industry’s concerns. The AHLA will ensure the Minister is informed about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on hotels and their staff.