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Secretary of Labor says layoffs have begun, hitting Mahahual hard

Mahahual, Q.R. — The cancellation of cruise ships and flights combined with border closings and travel restrictions is beginning to wreak havoc on the tourism industry, says the Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare in Quintana Roo.

Catalina Portilla Navarro, secretaria del Trabajo y Previsión Social says at least 300 layoffs have already been reported, mainly in Mahahual and in the north of the state.

According to the official, the coronavirus pandemic is beginning to wreak havoc despite calls from the state government for companies to retain experienced workers in order to be in a position to revive the tourism industry once the contingency passes.

Portilla Navarro says she is in constant meetings with employers and union leaders requesting they support workers and companies so that the workforce is not affected, but the layoffs have already started.

“We know that there are layoffs and what we are doing is ensuring that companies liquidate their workers in accordance with the law. In the case of Mahahual, they were asked to commit to rehiring them once the cruises return and everything is back to normal,” she said.

The official explained that many employers are sensitive to the situation, arguing that the lack of tourists and sales means no income to operate businesses or pay staff.

The news comes on the heels of a 250-employee dismissal at a hotel complex in Playa del Carmen after staff were let go until June.