March 31, St. Louis Post Dispatch - Alsco Linen and Uniform Rental Services will conduct layoffs at its St. Louis branch, as economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak hit the company's clients.

The branch will be partially closed, and 39 employees will be impacted.

The company provides laundry services for hospitals and clinics, food and beverage providers and industrial facilities.

Restaurants make up the company's biggest customer base, and the industry has been scaled back due to public health concerns, with many switching to take-out only.

Alsco's restaurant clients have taken a huge hit, said Ben Fox, director of sales and marketing for Alsco. And in order to provide take-out services, they really only need a few basic items like towels and aprons.

"Alsco is hoping to hire all of these folks back as the restaurant industry opens back up," Fox said. "As long as they haven't gone out of business, our contracts are still in place."

The company said in the layoff notice that it hopes to return employees within six months.

"That's the timeline that we're looking at… obviously we hope it's sooner rather than later, and I think a lot of restaurant companies are hoping for the same," Fox said.

Alsco also launders items for hospitals and clinics. But even demand there has decreased, in some cases, as hospitals cancel elective healthcare procedures amid work to free up staff and space for COVID-19 patients.