Universal lays off staff to ‘prepare for the future’

Universal Orlando laid off an undisclosed number of employees on Tuesday despite reopening its theme parks weeks ago.

No details were given regarding departments or business units impacted by the move.

“We have made the difficult decision to reduce our Parks & Resorts workforce across multiple locations and business units,” Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroder said in a statement to Spectrum News. “This decision was not made lightly, but was necessary to prepare us for the future.”

Universal said it will be supporting laid-off employees through severance pay, subsidized health benefits, and professional reemployment assistance.

“We are working to structure and strengthen our business for the future in anticipation of the tourism industry taking time to fully recover,” Schroder said.

Universal Orlando closed in mid-March in response to the pandemic.

In April, Universal’s parent company Comcast reported that revenue from the theme parks division fell 32 percent in the first quarter.

In the weeks that followed, Universal announced plans to furlough part-time workers and cut executive pay in an effort to deal with the financial hit caused by the pandemic.

Universal paid many of its full-time employees during the closure.

Imagine de Vicki Lynn de la Pixabay

Universal’s CityWalk complex reopened to the public on May 14 with a limited number of shops and restaurants in operation.

Universal reopened its theme parks on June 5, with reduced capacity and new safety and health measures in place.

“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,” Schroder said.

Universal Orlando has several projects in the works, including an unannounced Jurassic Park coaster and a new Jason Bourne stunt show that’s currently in test-runs.

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