Houston First Announces Workforce Reduction

Style Magazine Newswire | 6/30/2020, noon

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to have a crippling impact on the travel, tourism and hospitality industries around the world, including Houston. Facing this unprecedented economic uncertainty, and after making severe cuts to our operating budget, Houston First Corporation (HFC) is taking very painful, but necessary steps of laying off, furloughing and reducing salaries of its employees.

Effective, July 6, 2020, 48 employees will be laid off and 34 will be furloughed, which represents approximately 36 percent of the company’s workforce. Salary reductions will be taken by remaining employees earning more than $50,000 annually. These actions will stay in place until our meetings, conventions and visitor travel markets show signs of recovery.

HFC will provide severance packages to those employees facing layoffs, and health benefits will continue for employees during the furlough period.

On March 28, HFC furloughed 135 employees, however the Payroll Protection Program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) made it possible for the employees to return to work and be paid in full for an additional 10 weeks, allowing them more time to prepare for their future.

“The employees of Houston First have all served our city and this organization exceptionally well and this decision is in no way a reflection on any of their efforts or professionalism,” said Brenda Bazan, president and CEO, Houston First Corporation. “This is one of the most difficult things I have had to do as leader of this organization. I value each and every member of my team, and we have considered every possible option, but with the severe drop in revenues, HFC, like many other companies around the world is forced to cut expenses to ensure its survival.”

The majority of HFC’s operating revenue is generated by meetings and conventions, business travel and leisure visitation, which have been devastated by the pandemic, but HFC is resilient. The HFC team will make strategic adjustments to rebuild as it continues to support the local hospitality industry and work to attract and safely welcome visitors to Houston once again.