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SOUTH BEACH (CBSMiami) — The Ritz-Carlton in South Beach is laying off their hourly workers as they struggle to reopen after Hurricane Irma.

The hotel, located at 1 Lincoln Road, suffered ‘significant damages’ from the storm which hit the area more than a month ago, according to a hotel spokesperson. 

The property will be closed through the end of the year and they’re estimating it could reopen in early 2018 but that depends on the final assessments from their repair specialists, the hotel spokesperson said.

An exact date is unclear, prompting the company to lay off its hourly workers.

“While some of the final renovation details have yet to be defined, we are truly looking forward to welcoming everyone back to an enlivened and inspirited Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. However, due to the uncertainty of the exact re-opening date of the hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach sent warning letters to all of our hourly Ladies and Gentlemen to inform them [they] would be laid off as of December 8, 2017,” said a spokesperson for the hotel.

In total, this would affect about 10o employees.

The hotel is reportedly making an effort to transfer every one of their hourly workers to a different property as they work to repair and reopen.

Some employees are optimistic about finding other jobs.

“Well, we need to find another way…..All the Marriott company and Ritz Carlton hotels around they’re going to help us with the positions they have available. We have priority,” said Ritz-Carlton employee Kata Ghinea.

As for salaried employees, they are being moved to other properties.

Thousands of people like Ghinea in our community are still feeling the impact of Irma – families in need of disaster related benefits.

The Department of Children and Families in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture set up Food for Florida sites in Miami-Dade and Broward where families can apply for assistance.

From Chopper4 captured video of the lines that stretched as far as the eye could see.

“We lost power for over a week, we lost food in the fridge, a week of work,” said Coral Springs applicant Olivia Aviles. “So we are trying to recoup what we lost.”

The Food for Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program sites will be open through the weekend and it’s for people who qualify.

This is for people who lost power, lost food in their fridge,” said DCF spokeswoman Silvia Beebe. “We also take into account other factors in deciding how much is given.”

The disaster program dispenses benefits through a card, which can be used at most grocery stores. It accounts for income and expenses from Sept. 5 through Oct. 4.

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