Universal Orlando lays off theme park employees

Parks reopened earlier this month after coronavirus closure

ORLANDO, Fla. – Weeks after opening for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck Central Florida, Universal Orlando announced that it would need to lay off some of its theme park employees.

A statement provided by the company didn’t give details on how many staff members will lose their jobs or from which parks they worked.

“We are working to structure and strengthen our business for the future in anticipation of the tourism industry taking time to fully recover. In that regard, we have already taken important steps such as adjusting budgets and implementing salary reductions and furloughs. Most recently, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our Parks & Resorts workforce across multiple locations and business units. This decision was not made lightly, but was necessary to prepare us for the future. We are aware of the impact this will have on those affected by this reduction and their families, and we are working to support them through this process. This includes severance pay, subsidized health benefits and professional reemployment assistance,” the statement read.

Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay all closed in mid-March to stop the spread of COVID-19. They reopened June 5 but with reduced capacity and social distancing guidelines in place.

Already, Universal has had to temporarily halt construction on its fourth Central Florida theme park: Epic Universe.

The company also announced earlier Tuesday that it would be holding a merchandise sale for annual pass holders and team members next month.

County Comptroller Phil Diamond said a few weeks ago that he was hopeful June could be a turning point for the local tourism industry but that was before the state started seeing record-high numbers of new daily coronavirus cases.

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