Great Wolf temporarily furloughed more than 500 of its Mason hourly employees, according to a notice the state made public late Tuesday.
Those companies aren’t alone. Forty-one of businesses responding to a recent Clark Schaefer Hackett survey said they have laid off employees. Thirty-five percent say they furloughed employees.
“It’s crazy times,” said John Venturella, a shareholder with Clark Schaefer Hackett, a certified public accounting firm. “We’re all trying to learn what the new normal looks like, to be honest.”
“Due to the government issued community safety measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we extended the closure of our resorts and made the very difficult decision to furlough our front line pack members,” Great Wolf Resorts said in a statement sent to the Dayton Daily News.
“Our pack members are invaluable to the Great Wolf Lodge experience, so we are doing all we can to assist them through this difficult period, including covering the employer and employee portions of health care premiums for all eligible pack members and extending those benefits until May 30,” the company also said.
“We also created preferential partnerships with companies such as Albertsons Companies, Ahold Delhaize, Walgreens, Dollar Tree, Meijer and others to offer employment opportunities for a significant portion of our employees at their stores and warehouses,” the statement added.
The move affects 512 hourly employees at Mason’s Great Wolf Lodge, the company said in a WARN letter. Thirty-two salaried employees in Mason will see reduced salaries, the company also indicated.
In Dayton, a linen company laid off 65 workers last week.
In a WARN notice made public by the state, Economy Linen said it laid off the workers at its 80 Mead St. plant, starting March 20.
The layoffs are expected to be temporary, said the letter signed by Scott Kamins, an attorney for Economy Linen.
The business serves restaurants and hospitals. Ohio government has banned on-premises dining, crushing the restaurant and pub business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The layoffs will last “until around the time that bans on the hospitality providers serviced by Economy Linen are lifted,” says the letter made public by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. “The entire plant will not be closed.”
Small businesses struggling to get to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic have options.
They can consider applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. It’s basically a forgivable federal loan designed to provide an incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on their payrolls.
Entrepreneurs can start applying at nearly any Small Business Administration lender or federally-backed lender, and lenders will start processing those applications as soon as Friday.
The idea is simple: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.
“They should be talking with their banks and their advisors to be sure they have their information ready to go,” Venturella said of interested businesses.
The government will ask for documentation to demonstrate the average monthly compensation businesses pay. Venturella said businesses should take care to make sure they are following rules and regulations.
Businesses can apply at a variety of institutions — at any SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union and Farm Credit System institution that is participating., and the program will be available through June 30, 2020.