WESH-2 NBC in Orlando is reporting that SeaWorld has filed an indefinite furlough with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that will temporarily put on hold over 90% of its workforce after this coming Tuesday, March 31. After that point, these employees will not be paid by the Orlando-based company until further notice.

This is of course in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, which has affected the tourism and theme park industries across the globe and shuttered the Disney, Universal, and Cedar Fair parks here in the United States. SeaWorld Entertainment also owns Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, and Sesame Place, in addition to its SeaWorld and Aquatica parks in the United States– all of which are affected by the above-mentioned SEC filing.

What’s happening:

  • 90% of SeaWorld Entertainment’s workforce will be put on furlough beginning next Wednesday, April 1. This means that they will be put on temporary hold until the parks are able to reopen after the coronavirus epidemic subsides.
  • Earlier this month, SeaWorld announced that its parks would be temporarily closing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, as part of the nationwide effort to control transmission of the disease.
  • At this point it is unclear when SeaWorld and its subsidiary parks may reopen, and other theme parks across the US and the world have recently extended their temporary closures.

What they’re saying:

  • SEC filing: “On March 27, 2020, the company announced that, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting temporary park closures, it will or has temporarily furloughed over 90% of its current employees as of April 1, 2020. The furloughed employees will not receive compensation from the company during the furlough period after March 31, 2020; however, subject to local regulations, these employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits. The furlough period is uncertain at this time due to the temporary park closures and will be reassessed as business conditions dictate. The company looks forward to welcoming back its ambassadors and guests when it is safe to open again.”
  • SeaWorld: “As part of our continued commitment to the safety of our guests and Ambassadors, and in accordance with guidance from state and local officials, our theme parks will remain temporarily closed. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience. During this time, animal care experts will continue to look after the health and welfare of the animals in our care. We will announce ride openings and new launch dates after we resume normal operations. We are continuing to monitor this evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation closely and coordinating with public health officials. We look forward to welcoming our valued guests back to our parks soon.