The pandemic continues to create challenges for the tourism and hospitality industry, which also includes the USA's riverboat cruise ships deployed on Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
New Albany-based AQSC-American Queen Steamboat Company notified the state that it might need to lay off 250 employees - crew working on the paddlewheel boats American Empress and American Queen.
While American Queen is based in the Midwest, American Empress operates in the USA's Pacific Northwest (Columbia and Snake rivers). The operation is headquartered in Indiana.
AQSC said it expected the first permanent layoffs in September. The company's website indicates that American Queen Steamboat Company would extend its suspension of Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee River trips through the end of August 2020, as it awaited guidance from the USA's CDC agency (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The CDC issued its first-ever “no sail” order in mid-March 2020, impacting ocean and river passenger ships.
According to AQSC, it is “implementing a phased-in approach” to its cruise operations resuming on the Mississippi River and will announce updates to the schedule in September.