November 23, 2020 – Layoffs continue in the Savannah area, as Chatham County companies deal with the ninth month of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on tourism, as well as the overall economic downturn.

In the Savannah Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes Chatham, Effingham and Bryan counties, there were 7,151 more initial claims filed in October, the eighth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, versus 649 claims filed last year in October 2019. These were on top of 7,815 initial claims filed in September 2020.  

Chatham County alone had 5,910 “initial claims” filed in October of those total MSA numbers,  versus 483 claims last October, which was on top of 6,365 initial claims made in September 2020 by Chatham County employees.

And another large layoff announcement has been filed with the Georgia Dept. of Labor, as required by the Federal WARNS Act. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs. The U.S. Department of Labor offers  compliance assistance materials to help workers and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under the provisions of WARN.

In October, HMS Host, the company providing food services and other support services at the Savannah Airport, filed a notice with the Georgia Dept. of Labor that the company will permanently lay off 71 employees on November 30, after the Thanksgiving travel period.  Many of the employees have been on furlough.  

Also filing a notice of intent to reduce its workforce is the Coastal Center for Developmental Services, which will lay off another 7 people as of Nov. 30. 

Saying there is “no short-term end in sight to the economic crisis,” foodservice operator HMSHost has been permanently laying off thousands of workers at airports across the country.  At the Savannah airport, the company provides food services.

Like many companies in the airline industry, there has been the hope that the Federal government comes back with aviation PPP money, “though they’ve been promising that to everyone,” according to a source close the finances of the Savannah airport, and COVID-19’s impact on U.S. travel.   

HMS Host employees who were furloughed in March face permanent layoffs if they are not recalled by Oct. 15, according to federal layoff notices. At least 3,000 workers at the company face permanent layoffs, according to a “Restaurant Business” magazine review of state worker adjustment and retraining notification (WARN article published back in August.

The number of travelers using U.S. airports is a fraction of what it was just a year ago.

In another recent larger local announcements, EMD Performance Materials Corp. in Port Wentworth informed the Dept. of Labor that they were laying off 88 workers on 9/20/2020;  and Coastal Center for Developmental Services in Savannah layed off 14 employeees as of 9/30/2020.

Layoffs Down the Coast

Aptim Federal Services, LLC in Kings Bay in Camden County has filed a notice that they will lay off 210 workers as of Nov. 30. The company provides daily operations services including force protection (security), facility management, facility investment services, utilities management, transportation and environmental support at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base.  The base is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s home port for the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile nuclear submarines armed with Trident missile nuclear weapons. The base is responsible for the readiness of submarines and crews in support of current and future maritime and fleet tasking.

According to the company, they provide “comprehensive solutions to help maintain and operate the  large “mission-critical facility,” including armed security at the 16,000 acre high level security Department of Defense (DoD) facility;  base support for a fleet of 600  vehicles and pieces of equipment; and support for 104 cranes and 336 pieces of heavy equipment and wright handling equipment (WHE).

APTIM also operates and maintains the electrical generation system from transmission lines to indoor systems, including the three generating stations which provides enough power for the entire base.

And the company “conducts environmental field sampling, provides laboratory services, and packages, ships, and manages 500,000 pounds of hazardous waste annually,” they state, and “performs $6 mil annually in “Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) work.”

They state that they support 1,000 service calls and 3,000 PMs per month at NSB Kings Bay.

They also operate and maintain the wastewater treatment facilities at the base, including industrial waste treatment for dry-dock wastes (corrosives and heavy wastes). APTIM treats 100% of the base wastewater, on average 100,000 gallons/day;  and they manage the water distribution system and produces 100% of the potable water for the base. This includes a medium temperature hot water plant and system, as well as chilled water plant for A/C.

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