Theme parks are coming back. But tourists aren't - for the most part. That means more bad news for the people who work at, and with, theme parks.
The Universal Orlando Resort has announced that it is laying off an unspecified number of its team members, as the tourism industry remains mired in a global slowdown due to the pandemic.
Universal's theme parks reopened to the public on June 5, but the need for safe physical distancing has forced Universal (and other parks) to impose strict capacity limits for its parks since then. Even so, attendance has remained below even those levels, as international borders remain closed and few visitors are coming to Florida from out of state.
Even for locals, June isn't exactly prime time for theme park visits, as most locals concede the parks to tourists during the hot and humid summer months.
Universal Orlando kept many of its full-time team members on payroll during its closure, which helped the resort react quickly when state officials signaled that theme parks might be able to reopen. But with analysts forecasting that tourism won't return to 2019 levels in Central Florida for several years, Universal apparently made the decision that it could no longer afford to stay staffed for a level of demand that doesn't appear to be coming back anytime soon.
Update: Here is the full text of Universal's statement:
"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.
"We continue to have long-term confidence in our business and our industry and remain excited about all of the projects we have been working toward."
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If you are planning a trip to Universal Orlando this year, you can find ticket discounts on our travel partner's Universal Orlando tickets page.
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