The economic fallout in Jamaica spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening as a number of companies are forced to layoff staff.

Restaurant chains, in particular, are taking a hit as coronavirus restrictions have been eating away at their revenue.

Chairman of the Island Grill Restaurant franchise, Howard Mitchell, says they’ve undertaken a 20 percent staff cut and slashed wages across the board for its staff due to economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says they’ve closed a number of stores and could close more later.

Mr Mitchell says those who’ve been laid off received care packages before going home.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of Restaurants of Jamaica, Mark Myers, says the company may have to consider cutting the salary of managers to retain more staff members.

Restaurants of Jamaica, ROJ, is the operators of the KFC and Pizza Hut Franchise.

ROJ says a major reduction in sales has forced it to begin discussions about the possibility of laying off workers in order to remain viable.

Mr. Myers says the company’s sales have plummeted by more than 50 percent due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

In the meantime, the franchise owner for Burger King in Jamaica, Restaurant Associates Limited, RAL, says it will need to make some unavoidable changes starting this month.

RAL, which also holds the Popeyes and Little Caesar’s franchises, says sales are down as much as 50-percent in some locations.

According to a statement from the company, Group CEO, Lisa Lake, says they’ve offered staff employment adjustments designed to protect jobs and secure business operations.

Lake says their aim is to ensure the viability of the business, so they can rebound on the other side of this crisis.

According to Lake, Jamaican law allows businesses to lay off employees for up to 120 days without pay.

However, she says they will avoid that option for as long as possible.

They’ve instead offered staff several options, including taking unused vacation with pay, or taking a voluntary leave of absence without pay. 

A tiered system will see pay cuts for monthly paid employees.

The Executive team is to receive the highest percentage pay cut.