By Mary Hladky
In yet more fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the Boca Raton Resort & Club will terminate 995 employees effective Feb. 6.
The resort furloughed the employees in March as the first COVID-19 cases were reported in Florida and businesses closed.
In July, the resort allowed employees who wanted to return to work to remain on furlough status. The resort continued to provide health insurance coverage for employees who could pay their portion of the coverage cost.
But as is the case for all other hotels in the county, the demand for rooms has remained far below normal. “Unfortunately, demand remains devastated and business is uncertain,”
General Manager John Carns said in a Dec. 14 letter to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Saying “we do not believe it is fair to keep (employees) on leave indefinitely,” the decision was made to terminate them, Carns wrote.
The resort will provide severance pay to full-time and longer-term part-time employees, the letter said.
The terminations include the furloughed employees and a small group of currently employed landscapers. The employees work at the resort, Boca Beach Club and Boca Country Club. The resort recently decided to donate the Boca Country Club to the city.
MSD Partners, formed by billionaire Michael S. Dell’s private investment firm, and Northview Hotel Group bought the resort in 2019 for $875 million in Palm Beach County’s biggest ever real estate deal.
The resort is now in the midst of a $150 million renovation that includes demolition of the nearly 42,000-square-foot Great Hall, construction of a 10,000-square-foot Mizner Ballroom, and revisions that make better use of the resort’s location on the Intracoastal Waterway.