CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - SREE Hotel Management, based in Charlotte, is helping its employees get through a rough patch.
COVID-19 has hit the hospitality industry hard.
One in nine people who work in Charlotte is employed in the hospitality industry.
Some hotel workers got their hours cut and have gone from getting two weeks of pay to hardly any pay at all.
“I thought they were kidding,” Embassy Suites Hotel worker John Matthews said. “But he wasn’t kidding.”
Matthews remembers when his boss told him the news.
He says he went from working four days a week at Embassy Suites on South Tryon Street to just one day.
“I ain’t surviving too good now,” Matthews said.
The SREE Hotel owner owns 24 hotels - 12 located in the Charlotte area.
The owner believes that since he can’t provide workers with more hours - he can provide them with a hot meal and food for their immediate family members.
“It’s a good morale boost,” Embassy Suites General Manager Kevin Plucker said. “Certainly we plan on bouncing back quickly.”
Plucker says he employed more than 100 people at the Embassy Suites on South Tryon, but due to COVID19 impacting the hotel business, he had to cut more than 80 workers.
“It’s painful,” Plucker said. “These are all people I have worked with.”
For several days, the hotel company has been passing out hot meals every day.
Each day, workers sign up to let the hotel know they would like to pick up a meal.
They would come and stand in line and get the meals. The owner says on average about 200 meals daily have been handed out to workers. SREE Hotel is doing this because they consider the hotel worker’s family.
“We want to retain relationships,” Plucker said. “Maintain relationships with our staff because we are going to be bringing a lot of people back - so this is a good way to keep in contact with people to say Hi - How are you doing - check in on their families.”
Matthews says these meals are making a difference. He says since his hours got cut, he doesn’t have to go to bed hungry and there is one less bill he has to worry about.
“That’s a pinch more,” Matthews said. “I ain’t got to go out and buy nothing.”
While hours have been cut locally but local hotels are still standing - The SREE Hotel in Myrtle Beach has been temporarily shut down. Many of the company’s hotel workers are taking advantage of the free meals. Workers in the two Lake Norman hotels are also getting a meal.
Assistant General Manager Cynthia Pesce of the Courtyard Marriott Lake Norman drove Sunday to pick up 28 meals for the workers.
She has a message for those workers.
“We’re going to get through this,” Pesce said. “We are going to make it through and soon as this is over - you guys are back in here immediately.”
The meal service that’s happening in Charlotte is also happening for the three hotels located in Columbia, South Carolina.