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SeaWorld Laid Off Nearly 1,900 Workers in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – SeaWorld Entertainment laid off nearly 1,900 employees this month at its Orlando-based corporate office as well as its theme parks, according to documents submitted to the state.

What You Need To Know

  • SeaWorld laid off nearly 1,900 workers this month
  • The layoffs were disclosed on Sept. 4, but SeaWorld didn’t share a number
  • SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, Disovery Cove and corporate offices were impacted
  • SeaWorld said the ongoing pandemic has hurt its businesses

On September 4, SeaWorld revealed it would permanently lay off some of its workers who had been furloughed since April, while the parks were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, SeaWorld wouldn’t disclose how many workers had been affected by the decision.

In a notice filed with the state, SeaWorld said it laid off 1,896 employees across SeaWorld, Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove and its corporate office.

SeaWorld cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind the decision.

“Due to the sudden and unforeseeable economic impacts of the pandemic on our Florida business operations, that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time of the temporary furlough, SeaWorld has determined that it must transition certain park and corporate personnel from a furloughed status to a permanent layoff,” SeaWorld Orlando president Kyle Miller wrote in the notice.

The layoffs affected a variety of positions, including 455 food service attendants, 272 park operations hosts, 121 performers, 123 sales clerks, 55 line cooks, and 29 lifeguards.

SeaWorld reopened its Florida parks in early June, bringing back thousands of workers. However, due to capacity limitations and other restrictions, the company had not called back hundreds more who remained on furlough.

“We are sorry to have to part ways with any team members in this difficult moment, but their abiding commitment to our guests, fellow Ambassadors and animals is recognized and made a lasting impact,” SeaWorld spokeswoman Lori Cherry said in a statement to Spectrum News earlier this month.

SeaWorld’s massive layoffs are the latest blow to the Orlando tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. Universal Orlando laid off an undisclosed number of workers in July after parent company Comcast reported a revenue loss in its theme parks division.

Meanwhile, thousands of Disney World workers remain furloughed, and just last month, the company notified workers those furloughs could last longer than originally anticipated.

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