Universal Orlando laying off undisclosed number of workers

Entertainment

FILE—In 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)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Almost two months after reopening, Universal Orlando is laying off an undisclosed number of workers.

Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said in an email Monday that the Florida theme park resort was reducing its workforce “to reflect current priorities and needs.”

Universal has put the construction of a new theme park, Epic Universe, on pause because of the pandemic. Comcast, Universal Orlando’s owner, reported last week that the company’s theme parks division shrank to $87 million in revenue from $1.46 billion a year ago.

“We are prioritizing daily operations and shorter-term projects and continuing our pause on longer-term projects such as Epic Universe as we allow the tourism industry to recover,” Schroder said.

Like theme park operators around the U.S., Universal Orlando closed its doors in mid-March as the novel coronavirus started spreading in the U.S. It was thefirst of Orlando’s major theme park operators to reopen when it welcomed back visitors in early June. SeaWorld reopened in late June, and Walt Disney World welcomed back visitors last month.

All of the parks have new rules meant to limit the spread of the virus. Guests and workers must have their temperatures checked and wear masks. Attendance has been limited to allow for social distancing in the parks.

The laid-off workers will get severance pay and subsidized health benefits.

“As always, we are aware of the impact this will have on those affected by this decision and their families,” Schroder said.

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