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Long Island Marriott closes temporarily because of virus, owner says

The Long Island Marriott in Uniondale has closed

The Long Island Marriott in Uniondale has closed temporarily because of the virus. Credit: Daniel Brennan

The Long Island Marriott has closed temporarily, laying off more than 200 employees. 

The Uniondale hotel closed Monday, citing "unforeseeable business circumstances prompted by COVID-19," according to a WARN notice posted on the state Labor Department's website.

Naveen Shah, president and CEO of Navika Capital Group, owner of the 618-room hotel, said about 272 staff members were affected by the closure. 

"Our business has been badly impacted by this virus," he said.

"When we're ready to reopen, our plan is to recall all of these employees and of course, we're hoping that time comes sooner rather than later." 

The same is true for the nearly 200 employees furloughed at the Hilton in Melville, also owned by Navika. While that hotel remains open, only 10 employees are still on its payroll, Shah said.

Shah, who's also at the helm of Uniondale-based hotel management company Blue Sky Hospitality Solutions, said Blue Sky will manage the Marriott when it reopens.  The hotel had been managed by Marriott. Navika purchased it in 2018. 

Shah said his heart is set on a June 1st reopening date but added, "we'll have to wait and see; that too could change depending on the developments of the pandemic." 

Natalie Christian, 43, who is from the island of Jamaica but has been living on Long Island for the past seven years, worked at the Long Island Marriott for nearly five years, working her way up from dishwasher to cook. 

"I was recently promoted and given a raise. I was so excited! But now this," she said with a sigh. "Since it happened, I've been sitting at home depressed." 

Christian received a call on her day off from one of her managers asking her to come to the office for a chat. "That's when they told me, I was being laid off...everyone was." 

Christian, who said she was earning about $600 a week at the hotel, said she filed for unemployment but hasn't yet received a payment. 

"I did get the stimulus check and that helps... It's definitely better than nothing," she said. "But it's not the same as having a job. Sometimes my coworkers and I get on the phone and we just break down. I honestly don't know how I'm managing right now." 

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