The impact of COVID-19 on the emotions or behaviors of employees in tourism enterprises would be worthwhile for investigation since COVID-19 has harmed not only people's health and lives but also most tourism enterprises. By identifying the effect of COVID-19 event strength on avoidance coping behaviors, the behaviors isolated from customers unlikely beneficial for tourism enterprises, we not only revealed that COVID-19 event strength indirectly affects avoidance coping behaviors through either the fear of external threat or psychological safety, but also disclosed that supervisor safety support would moderate the effect of psychological safety on such coping behaviors. We argue that understanding potential causes, such as the fear of external threat and psychological safety, and identifying possible solutions, like supervisor safety support, may be key factors for restarting tourism enterprises successfully under the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given its person-to-person transmission (Rothan & Byrareddy, 2020), COVID-19 rapidly spreading globally becomes a pandemic (Shi et al., 2020), which caused travel and mobility bans, community lockdowns, and people to remain at home with devastating impacts on tourism and hospitality (Gössling et al., 2020; Kock et al., 2020). Thus, the issues on how to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 for tourism and hospitality have been got much attention. Abel et al. (2020) argued that most owners and managers of tourism enterprises would endeavor to discover how to adjust and modify the manner by which they conduct business in consideration of COVID-19. Bartsch et al. (2021) found that an effective means to maintain the work performance of employees in a virtual environment under the impacts of COVID-19 was to adopt either task- or relation-oriented leadership behavior. In short, the previous studies mainly focused on how to respond to COVID-19 from the enterprise perspective. However, due to reduced occupancy and closed accommodation (Park et al., 2020), operations in tourism and hospitality enterprises have considerably declined worldwide (Kreiner & Ram, 2020), resulting in massive job loss (Kaushal & Srivastava, 2021). As a result, Employees afraid of being layoff off or nearly unemployed likely affect the operating performance of tourism and hospitality enterprises. As a result, it would be essential to shed light on the issues of employees in such enterprises under the severe impact of COVID-19.
Notably, sadness and anxiety may be the main emotions experienced by employees (Park et al., 2020; Sah et al., 2020). Understanding changes in the psychological state and behavior response of employees may be crucial for enterprises facing the COVID-19 epidemic (Kock et al., 2020). However, the employees' response behaviors to the impacts of COVID-19 in the tourism and hospitality industry seem to have been rarely explored in relevant studies. Sigala (2020) indicated that COVID-19 tourism research should provide a deeper examination and understanding of the tourism stakeholders’ behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and ideological actions as well as their reactions to the serious impact of COVID-19. In practice, many hotels served as isolation sites for suspected COVID-19-infected individuals due to decreasing room occupancy by tourists after the outbreak of the pandemic. However, many tourist attractions, including hotels, have provided free access for tourists, likely resulting in mass gatherings, which might disadvantage precautions against COVID-19.