TAMPA, Fla. - A new SEC filing by SeaWorld Entertainment has some theme park workers on edge. The document, released by the company Friday, revealed the pandemic has hit the theme park business hard, and SeaWorld Entertainment will now be forced to lay off many of their furloughed employees.
While this is bad news for Central Florida, the Bay Area will feel the effects too. SeaWorld Entertainment is the parent company to Tampa's Busch Gardens and Adventure Island.
After the theme parks closed their doors in March, 90 percent of SeaWorld Entertainment employees were furloughed, including many workers at Busch Gardens.
When the theme parks reopened in June, many of those furloughed employees were brought back. However, the past few months have come with financial loss and low park attendance due to fewer people traveling, meaning cuts are now inevitable.
The filing explains that while the company intended to get all employees back to work, 'unforeseen economic impacts from the pandemic' have ruled that impossible.
SeaWorld Entertainment plans to spend at least $2.5 million on severance packages as they are forced to say goodbye to dedicated workers.
In a statement to FOX 13, a spokesperson for the company wrote:
“The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on each of our lives, in ways both small and profound. The same is true for the travel, tourism, entertainment, and hospitality industries, and the operations of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.
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 set up the company for long term success. SeaWorld has determined that it must transition certain parks and corporate personnel from a furloughed status to a permanent layoff.
We deeply appreciate the hard work and dedication of our Ambassadors to our company’s shared mission, values, and goals. 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.”
SeaWorld Entertainment has not released what roles or positions might be in jeopardy. The company has also not disclosed how many workers at Busch Gardens may be let go.