Pinestone cook Heather Allan Reid said it has been stressful working at the Dysart resort and conference centre over the past few weeks amid the COVID-19 crisis.

With fewer and fewer customers and layoffs, Reid said staff were anxious. She said she and other kitchen staff decided not to opt for an optional lay-off, staying on to run a take-out service.

That changed when she was laid off March 27, a scheduled payday. But Aurora Hotel Group, the owner of the resort, sent out a letter that due to difficulties with their payroll company closing its office due to COVID-19, pay would be delayed for one week. Reid said that was not something she could afford.

“We go pay cheque to pay cheque and now we have nothing,” she said. “My rent is now going to be behind today. I have other bills to be paying. I can’t buy food. I have to wait now for EI (employment insurance) to come in and who knows how long that will take with so many people applying.”

Other employees are upset about the delay in payment as the Pinestone joins other businesses in slowing operations due to COVID-19.

Michelle Delaire worked as a waitress and kitchen staff. She said she also had the option of being laid off but kept working for an additional two weeks, until being let go March 18. She, too, was counting on that March 27 paycheque. She said she would have been better off leaving and getting on EI sooner.

“I’m very pissed off that they have not been more accommodating in these last few minutes as they’re shutting their doors,” Delaire said.

The company did provide workers the delayed pay April 3. But Reid said that does not make delaying pay right and the employees should be treated more respectfully than that.

“We worked tirelessly for these people and this is how they repay us. It’s very disheartening.”

In a letter to workers provided by Reid, the Aurora Hotel Group said it ensured everyone got their record of employment and were working hard to resolve the pay problem.

“Our first priority is you the employees. We are literally working around the clock to make this happen as soon as we possibly can,” executive director of operations Matthew Phillips said. “We sincerely appreciate your understanding during this incredibly challenging time and we strongly urge you all to stay home and stay safe.”

Ownership was not available for an interview before press time.

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