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In addition to our normal news coverage, What Now Atlanta is tracking ways Atlanta’s businesses are adapting to the novel coronavirus and the challenges it brings to brick-and-mortars.
Business reviews-and-ratings platform Yelp in an email sent to its entire workforce of 5,950 employees Thursday announced it would be laying off 1,000 workers and furloughing another 1,100.
Another undisclosed number of employees will receive a reduction in hours, according to the email in which Yelp also published to its blog for all of its users to read.
“It’s been an extremely difficult and painful last month: the world is facing a global health crisis none of us have ever witnessed in our lifetimes,” Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote in the announcement.
“It has disrupted daily life for nearly everyone—from businesses that rely on foot traffic or human contact, to workers who have no visibility into when they will earn their next paycheck; and parents, including many of us here at Yelp, who are trying to juggle childcare with job responsibilities. People everywhere are staying in to stay safe, wondering when life will go back to normal.”
Stoppelman attributes the decision to a decline in revenues linked to social distancing and stay-at-home orders mandated by federal and local governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The physical distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders, while critical to flatten the curve, have dealt a devastating blow to the local businesses that are core to our mission,” Stopplelman wrote.
“The impact we’ve seen on consumer behavior is staggering: interest in restaurants, our most popular category, has dropped 64% since March 10, and the nightlife category is down 81%. Gyms and similar businesses are down 73%, and salons and other beauty businesses are down 83%. All told, the millions of local businesses hit hardest by the effects of COVID-19 face the prospect of closing and laying off their employees, without knowing when, or if, they’ll be able to reopen.”
Employees affected by the layoff will be offered severance pay and reimbursement for up to three months of health insurance coverage, according to the announcement.
“Employees on furlough will be put on unpaid leave, unless otherwise noted, but will retain the bulk of their benefits during this time and receive two weeks of additional pay. Those who have hours reduced will also continue to retain their benefits. Your managers, directors, and VPs are here to support you through this transition and will reach out to you this morning, and over the course of the day.”
[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]