Universal Orlando Resort has announced that almost 5,400 of its employees, known as Team Members, will be put on extended furloughed, possibly not coming back to work until 2021.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the resort alerted the State of Florida that they were putting team members on extended furlough on September 4, but the online records were not updated with this news until today, September 16.
“Universal Orlando continues to experience unprecedented challenges with the economic effects likely to continue into next year,” Universal Orlando Resort’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources Scot LaFerte wrote in a letter to officials. “As a full recovery will take time, the Company has had to make very difficult decisions.”
5,389 Universal employees across multiple departments have been put on extended furloughs, including 104 actors, 416 attraction attendants, 284 cashiers, 450 cooks, and around 40 technicians responsible for lighting, special effects, and other shows. LaFerte does not expect these furloughs to be permanent.
This news comes shortly after Universal announced that almost 1,200 employees working in its resort hotels would be laid off this month, and the reclosure of four of its resort hotels in an effort to further cut operational costs.
While we covered stories of the Universal theme parks reaching capacity, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts disclosed that Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay are all operating at only 25% their full capacity.
Universal Orlando Resort has also announced that its water park, Volcano Bay, will be closed select nights throughout the week, and have reduced hours most nights at Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure to either 9 am – 5 pm or 10 am – 6 pm.
Meanwhile, at the Walt Disney World Resort, the call back of furloughed employees has also been rather slow. However, some performing Cast Members represented by the Actors’ Equity Association finally made their return to work this week.
Are you surprised by these Universal’s extended furloughs? When do you think the Orlando theme parks will call back their entire workforces? Let us know in the comments!