SeaWorld furloughs 90% of employees amid coronavirus pandemic closures

Workers will go without pay starting April 1

FILE - This Jan. 31, 2017, file photo shows the entrance to SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla. Florida tourism officials say cases of the new coronavirus are having little visible impact on the state's biggest industry so far. Orlando is the nation's most visited tourist destination, bringing vast numbers of people from around the globe to its major theme parks, which also include Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando. Officials with Busch Gardens and SeaWorld hasn't responded to email inquiries about how the coronavirus had affected them, as of Sunday evening, March 8, 2020. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) (John Raoux, Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – After closing its parks due to the coronavirus, SeaWorld Entertainment Co. announced Friday that it will furlough 90% of its workers without compensation.

The workers will be temporarily furloughed without pay beginning April 1. Those employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

SeaWorld officials did not say how long it expects parks to stay closed or when workers would be able to return.

“The furlough period is uncertain at this time due to the temporary park closures and will be reassessed as business conditions dictate,” a statement from the company said. “The Company looks forward to welcoming back its ambassadors and guests when it is safe to open again.”

[Coronavirus: Disney World to remain closed until further notice, company says | Universal to stay closed through mid-April ]

SeaWorld followed Disney and Universal announcing theme park closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Universal Orlando announced its theme parks will be closed through April 19 and on Friday Walt Disney World officials announced that the company’s operations will remain suspended until further notice. Legoland officials said its theme and water parks would remain closed through April 14.

SeaWorld announced March 13 it would its Florida parks to prevent the spread of the virus, including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica and Discovery Cove.

During SeaWorld’s closure, animal care experts will continue to look after the health and well being of the animals inside, officials said.

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