SeaWorld is permanently laying off some of its employees

SeaWorld Entertainment is permanently laying off some of its theme park and corporate employees who were already furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday. “While we were able to bring thousands of furloughed Ambassadors back to work and hoped to bring back everyone, the current environment requires us to setup the company for long term success,” a SeaWorld spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “SeaWorld has determined that it must transition certain park and corporate personnel from a furloughed status to a permanent layoff.” The filing nor the spokesperson disclosed how many workers will be impacted or which parks are affected. However, the filing does note that SeaWorld will spend between $2.5 million and $3 million related to employee severance costs. “We deeply appreciate the hard work and dedication of our Ambassadors to our company’s shared mission, values, and goals,” the spokesperson added. “Over our 60-year history, our parks have inspired millions of guests to love, protect and care for our planet’s animals and their habitats. 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.” All SeaWorld employees impacted will be directly notified this week by mail and will be given information regarding support available to them. All ambassadors in good standing affected by this decision can apply for future available positions at any of SeaWorld’s theme parks and impacted full time and salaried ambassadors will be given up to four weeks of severance pay to assist them in their transition. SeaWorld furloughed 90% of its workforce in April when the company closed its theme parks to limit the spread of COVID-19. The company began reopening its theme parks at limited capacity starting on June 6. Seven of SeaWorld’s theme parks have reopened, including the company’s Aquatica park in Texas, followed by all five Florida parks on June 11, its SeaWorld park in Texas on June 19 and its Sesame Place park in Pennsylvania, which reopened its gates July 24. Earlier this month, SeaWorld reported a 95% loss in revenue for the second quarter compared with the same time a year ago, and a substantial decrease in attendance at its theme parks. SeaWorld’s revenue declined $388 million compared with the year prior, totaling roughly $18 million during the three-month period. Total park attendance for the quarter was 300,000 guests, a 6.2 million decline compared to the previous year. Overall, the company suffered a net loss of $131 million for the second quarter of 2020, a decline of $183.7 million compared to the second quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, both of SeaWorld’s competitors, Universal and Disney, saw their Orlando theme parks hit capacity on Saturday, according to the theme parks’ websites. Despite the uptick in attendance during Labor Day weekend, the pandemic has also hammered both Disney and Universal theme park revenue. Disney posted a loss of $4.84 billion in its third-quarter earnings report, with revenue falling 42% to $11.78 billion. Closing Disney theme parks cost $3.5 billion during the quarter. Universal, likewise, saw its revenue plunge 94.1% to $87 million in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the 1.46 billion generated during the same time the previous year. Disney furloughed 43,000 employees in April. Though many employees have returned to work, others received emails about ‘indefinite’ furloughs last week. Universal also laid off an undisclosed number of employees in June shortly after reopening its theme parks. According to a report by Fox 35 Orlando, Universal Orlando sent notices last week that it was laying off or extending furloughs on more than 1,200 of its hospitality staff.

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