Layoffs in Maryland mount as businesses close during coronavirus crisis

Employers in the Baltimore area have stepped up the pace and number of job cuts, with hotels, fitness studios and movie theaters reporting hundreds of layoffs in the first few days of April alone.

As state-ordered business shutdowns continue during the new coronavirus pandemic, Maryland labor officials have been notified of an increasing number of layoffs.


The Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore, Embassy Suites Inner Harbor Hotel and Cinemark movie theaters in Towson and Hanover are among those reporting layoffs to the Maryland Department of Labor since April 1.

In addition, Baltimore-based Under Armour said Friday morning that it will layoff 600 warehouse workers in the area because of a significant drop in sales during the crisis. They’re among about 6,700 employees at Under Armour brand and outlet stores mostly in the U.S. facing temporary layoffs starting April 12. The sports apparel maker’s stores have been closed since March 16 and will stay closed until further notice.


The bulk of the job losses have piled up quickly in the service industry, at restaurants, hotels and stores.

“I imagine the numbers will get worse before they get better,” said Daraius Irani, chief economist for the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University “This is one of those extraordinary circumstances we’ve never experienced on this grand scale. We’re asked all the world economies to shut down and restart.”

To slow the spread of the virus, Gov. Larry Hogan had ordered all bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to close in mid-March. Since then malls and non-essential businesses also have been ordered closed and gatherings of more than 10 people have been prohibited.

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On Thursday, luxury hotel Four Seasons in Harbor East, east of Baltimore’s downtown, reported that it laid off 169 people as of March 23.

CorePower Yoga on Wednesday reported 193 layoffs at five Maryland studios, including four in Baltimore, which took effect March 30. Cinemark announced 236 layoffs in Towson and Hanover on Wednesday, which took effect March 27th.

Other hotels that reported layoffs in April include Embassy Suites Inner Harbor Hotel on St. Paul Place, Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott, both in Salisbury, and Hampton Inn & Suites in Annapolis.

Those layoffs follow others in the hotel industry since mid-March, including at Graduate Annapolis hotel in Annapolis and the Sheraton Columbia Hotel.

Unemployment claims in Maryland and across the country have soared. The state labor department said Thursday that more than 84,000 people in the state filed jobless claims during the week ending March 28, double a record-setting amount from the previous week.


More than 6.6 million people filed for unemployment in the U.S. during that week.

“It’s a really rough patch we’re entering into,” Irani said. “The good news is this was not an asset bubble or people nervous about their wealth. Once we get past this, we should start to climb back to normal."