Florida Ice and Farm Company (FIFCO) has confirmed that they have fired approximately 500 people, just weeks before Christmas.
The majority of the people let go are from their hotel operations here in Guanacaste at the Westin Playa Conchal Resort. The number of people represents about 10% of FIFCO employees in Costa Rica.
The company has stated that the firings are due to the economic downturn affecting the tourism sector caused by the Covid pandemic.
FIFCO had kept all employees on their payroll for the past 9 months, despite the Hotel being closed and a downturn in beverage sales throughout the country.
FIFCO is a large company with holdings in breweries, beverages, canned goods, bottling, distribution, and properties including Reserva Conchal and in the Papagayo Penninsula.
Employees will receive all benefits owing to them and also financial aid for training to assist them in finding new employment. The company hopes to rehire staff whenever the tourism sector rebounds and restrictions are lifted.
The news comes at a time when the government is trying to promote tourism to global markets, however the sector does not appear to be improving.
Travel restrictions, testing, and travel insurance are all issues contributing to the slow recovery.