Wedding venue reports layoffs

4.1M unemployment claims processed in state

469
The restaurant, bakery and tasting room is located off Pacheco Pass Highway, eight miles from downtown Hollister. The Grove is owned by Frank Leal, who also owns and operates Leal Vineyards. COURTESY PHOTO

The state’s prohibition on large gatherings has hit Leal Vineyards hard, as the wedding and entertainment venue in Hollister laid off 64 employees in late March, state filings show.

The company’s Grove restaurant on Highway 156 also let go of 36 employees.

Companies that employ at least 75 workers are required by state law to give employees at least a 60-day notice of layoffs or closures under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The WARN notice must also be submitted to the state.

However, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s March 17 executive order suspended the 60-day notice temporarily due to Covid-19.

During the shelter-in-place order, Leal Vineyards is offering drive-thru services, where customers can pick up dinner and wine.

Leal Vineyards owner Frank Leal owns numerous hospitality businesses in the South Valley, including the Granada Theater, Granada Hotel (under construction), Willow Heights Mansion and Sycamore Creek Vineyard in Morgan Hill. Leal Vineyards is located on Marantha Drive in southeast Hollister. 

According to the WARN filings, the only other business in San Benito County to report layoffs was True Leaf Farms in San Juan Bautista, which laid off 27 employees on April 2.

These numbers, however, are an unknown percentage of the total amount of employees laid off because of the economic downturn, as employers with less than 75 workers do not have to file a notice.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) processed 615,809 unemployment benefit claims and paid $4.5 billion in benefits during the week ending on May 2. In total, since the week ending March 14, the EDD processed a total of 4.1 million claims for benefits and paid a total of $8.9 billion in benefit payments.

Data for San Benito County has not yet been released.

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