PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Port Canaveral this week implemented a massive staff cut, largely the result of the continuing shutdown in cruise ship sailings because of the coronavirus pandemic, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.
As of Friday, the port is cutting 115 positions through a combination of layoffs, unpaid furloughs and leaving vacant positions unfilled, according to Steve Linden, the port's director of communications and public affairs.
That represents about 43% of the port’s pre-coronavirus staff level of 268, and leaves the port with 153 employees on the payroll.
Linden said the cuts extend through all departments at the port, unlike a previous coronavirus-related furlough that affected only employees in the cruise and recreation sectors. Some people affected by that previous furlough are now being laid off, while others remain on furlough.
Linden said the port’s revenue losses related to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ongoing no-sail order for cruise lines is largely responsible for the staff cuts.
The CDC order now extends through Sept. 30, although it is unlikely cruise operations will immediately ramp up at that point. Cruise lines have been idled since mid-March.
The port employees who are furloughed will remain on furlough status through Nov. 30, Linden said.
When cruise sailings resume, there likely to be fewer ships in operation, and they will be operating at a fraction of their passenger capacity to help assure social distancing.
Additionally, it is likely to take some time for cruise lines to bring back their ship crews from their home countries once the lines get the go-ahead to resume sailing.
Linden said, while most of the port positions cut involved layoffs or furloughs, some involved positions in which employees retired or left the port to take another job, and their jobs were not filled.
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