Universal Orlando extends furlough for 5400 employees

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According to the Orlando Sentinel, Universal Orlando has alerted the state that 5,400 furloughed employees won’t be back to work anytime soon. The recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will most likely last until 2021. Unfortunately, this news means a longer furlough for many theme park and hospitality workers.

It’s a challenging time for tourism, so the furloughs are until “further notice.” The Universal positions hit most include actors, attraction attendants, cashiers, cooks, and technicians who handle special effects, lighting and other show components. The furlough effects a wide range of areas from food service, parking, money handling, transportation, vacation planning, and more.

A month ago, Universal Orlando reduced its workforce due to the pandemic. Also, two hotels announced they would be closing temporarily. The Comcast-owned theme park company went through three rounds of layoffs at Universal Orlando since opening up. Those most recent round of layoffs includes 164 people at Cabana Bay, 200 people at the Hard Rock, 475 at Portofino Bay and 176 support staff.

Loews Hotels sent the following statement to Orlando news stations:

“Unfortunately, the global pandemic surrounding COVID-19 has forced Loews Hotels & Co to make some difficult decisions as it relates to our workforce. Team Members are the backbone of our company… and rest assured, these measures were not taken lightly.”

Universal Orlando endured a revenue loss of 94% in the second quarter of this year due to the temporary closure. The new theme park construction project, Epic Universe, is indefinitely paused and will have a new opening date. We also learned recently that 115 people were injured on a water slide at Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando’s water park.


Kevin Koszola