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      Operators of Outback Steakhouse, Enterprise car rentals cut hours or lay off workers in Maryland

      A car rental company has laid off hundreds of Maryland workers while a national restaurant chain has reduced hours for several thousand people in the state because of shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic and related government social distancing orders.

      OS Restaurant has cut hours for nearly 3,000 people statewide at its Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill and Carrabba’s Italian Grill restaurants after the dining rooms were required to close, according to notices filed with the Maryland Department of Labor.

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      In the Baltimore area, affected employees work at restaurants under those banners in Annapolis, Baltimore, Bel Air, Ellicott City, Gambrills, Glen Burnie, Hunt Valley, Owings Mills, Pasadena, Towson and White Marsh. Layoffs took effect Wednesday.

      “Some employees are working in our restaurants, which are still open for take away and delivery,” said Elizabeth Watts, a spokeswoman for Bloomin’ Brands, who said the company is providing relief pay for six weeks for those who have had hours reduced. “As dining rooms re-open, we are recalling them back to work.”

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      Enterprise Holdings, which runs Alamo, Enterprise and National car rental branches, reported 566 layoffs in Hanover, Linthicum Heights, Landover and Rockville. Those layoffs took effect Thursday.

      There were 409 combined layoffs at its Hanover and Linthicum Heights sites, both of which support its operations at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

      “While a large network of branch locations is still in operation to keep our communities moving, some of our rental locations are closed until further notice,” Enterprise Holdings said on its website.

      Next Day Blinds in Jessup notified the state it laid off 453 people as of April 14. And Shutterfly Lifetouch, which largely does school pictures, filed notice Tuesday that it laid off 413 people at 13 sites statewide in mid-March.

      On Thursday, the state reported a decrease in unemployment claims for a second week in a row, though they remain at historically high levels.

      The state reported 37,225 claims for jobless benefits in the week ended April 25, about 10,000 fewer than a week earlier and one-third of the level during the week that ended April 4.

      A total of 387,554 Marylanders have filed claims since the pandemic erupted in Maryland in early March.

      One employer has brought some people back to work after reporting layoffs. Visionworks notified the state at the end of last week that it laid off 220 people at two dozen stores early last month.

      But stores have since re-opened on a part-time, appointment-only basis.

      “Based on government guidance that healthcare facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, Visionworks has reopened its locations with enhanced safety protocols to safely serve your essential eyecare needs and reduce the strain on our health care system,” the company said on its website.

      Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Dance contributed to this article.

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