The owners of Esalen Institute retreat center on the Big Sur coast have made their temporary closure official as of May 17, filing a state notice that says they will lay off 45 people employed there by July 4.
The retreat has actually been closed since February after major storms caused numerous slides to the south on Highway 1 and irreparable damage to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge to the north.
The massive Mud Creek Slide has cut off access from San Luis Obispo County for months. Then, worsening conditions at Paul’s Slide near Lucia cut off the institute completely from the south, once access to even little-traveled Nacimiento Fergusson Road was not available.
The New Age-oriented center typically offers more than 500 workshops to some 12,000 guests on a yearly basis. The institute is said to have a long-term lease on the stunning 27-acre property that overlooks the Pacific.
Esalen says on its website that despite the road issues, it will reopen at the end of July with a slate of workshops in August and through the rest of the year, according to Executive Director Ben Tauber. That date coincides with the estimated reopening of Highway 1 at Paul’s slide.
The state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice offers no timetable on staff layoffs. The notice requires that employers give a 60-day notice to the affected employees and both state and local representatives prior to a plant closing or mass layoff.