Universal will extend furloughs for more than 5,000 workers

Theme park officials cite COVID-19 challenges as cause

FILEIn this June 3, 2020 file photo, visitors arrive at Universal Studios, in Orlando, Fla. Amusement parks of all sizes are adjusting everything from selling tickets to serving meals while trying to reassure the public and government leaders that they're safe to visit amid the coronavirus crisis and warnings against large gatherings. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) (John Raoux, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Due to the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Universal Orlando Resort plans to extend furloughs for more than 5,000 of its workers.

Universal senior vice president of human resources Scot LaFerte wrote in a notice dated Sept. 4 that the 5,389 furloughs are not expected to become permanent but the situation could change.

The workers listed on the notice are expected to remain on furlough “until further notice.”

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“As a direct result of the unforeseen reach of COVID-19 and its impact on its operations, Universal Orlando continues to experience unprecedented challenges with the economic effects likely to continue into next year,” LaFerte wrote.

Among those affected workers are 416 attraction attendants, 284 cashiers, 450 line cooks, 215 security officers, and 394 waiters and waitresses.

Universal closed its Central Florida theme parks in March as COVID-19 cases first began appearing in the Sunshine State. The parks reopened in June with reduced capacity and safety precautions in place.