American Queen

The American Queen is shown in this undated photo.

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany-based American Queen Steamboat Company will permanently lay off up to 250 employees based on a WARN notice filed with the state.

In a letter filed July 22 with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, a company official stated the layoffs will affect workers on the American Empress and American Queen “who have no fixed workplace” but who were eligible to be called to work at several port cities, including Louisville.

The layoffs are expected to begin around Sept. 24, according to the letter.

“We are taking this action because of COVID-19-related business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable,” states Christina Hobbs, vice president of human resources for American Queen Steamboat, in the WARN notice letter.

“We did not foresee how significantly and for how long a time the pandemic and related governmental orders would impact our businesses, including protocol issued by the States of Washington and Oregon, and the “no sail order” issued by the Centers for Disease Control on July 16, 2020.”

The river cruise business is based along Pearl Street in New Albany.

The letter doesn’t specify how many Southern Indiana residents will be affected by the layoffs. Other ports affected by the layoffs include Cincinnati, Ohio, Chicago, St. Louis and Memphis, Tennessee.

The News and Tribune attempted to confirm how many local employees will be affected by the layoffs, but the information wasn’t provided as of press time.

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