Hooters to lay off 679 employees in Tampa Bay

The restaurant chain, which was founded in Clearwater, disclosed the layoffs in filings with the state government.
The Original Hooters, at 2800 Gulf to Bay Blvd, in Clearwater, on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
The Original Hooters, at 2800 Gulf to Bay Blvd, in Clearwater, on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | TImes ]
Published April 15, 2020|Updated April 16, 2020

Hooters will lay off 679 employees, all in the Tampa Bay area, according to filings made by the Clearwater-based company to the state of Florida. Those filings were dated March 27.

The employees affected include waitresses, bartenders, security staff, kitchen staff, maintenance and hosts, according to an email sent by Hooters’ vice president of human resources, Dan Babbitt, to the state.

They work at 11 Hooters locations in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Port Richey, Spring Hill and Madeira Beach — including the original Hooters at 2800 Gulf to Bay Boulevard in Clearwater, where 64 people were laid off.

“The announced layoffs are a direct result of business decline and cessation relative to circumstances associated with COVID-19,” Babbitt wrote.

The restaurant and sports bar chain stopped operations on March 23, according to the email. Three days earlier, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered that all restaurants move to take-out and delivery only in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ilona Wolpin, a spokeswoman for Hooters corporate, said that the company plans on rehiring the laid off employees when they are able to re-open their restaurants.

“We plan to get back to full capacity as soon as we are permitted to,” she said.

Local Hooters are also still doing to-go and delivery orders, which can be placed online.

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