MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) Officials with the Monterey Bay Aquarium tell us they will be laying off 93 employees and furloughing and additional 128 employees.
They say though it was difficult, these actions were necessary to maintain operation of the aquarium through its closure.
This is a 38% reduction in workforce – while also implementing a 20% compensation reduction for executive leadership and vice presidents, and 10% for employees making more than $100,000 per year.
The departments affected by the lay offs include education, conservation, science and guest services. The departments not affected by the lay offs include animal care, building maintenance, management and sales.
Since closing on March 12th, the Aquarium says they committed to paying all employees – regardless of their job responsibilities and ability to work remotely – for six weeks ending April 26. As that date approaches and the expected duration of closure grows longer, they say the difficult cuts were necessary to ensure the financial viability of the institution and ensure the safety of the animals in their care.
The minimum revenue shortfall now projected through the end of the year is at least a 60% drop – $40M.
The Aquarium is a top sales tax generator for the City of Monterey. Monterey hopes when the community reopens that the Aquarium can get back on its feet and the layoffs will only be temporary. "It's devastating for families, employees and has a huge impact on our economy," said Monterey Assistant Manager, Nat Rojanasathira.
The Aquarium will cover the cost of health insurance premiums for furloughed employees.
“These were painful but necessary decisions to maintain the health of the Aquarium,” said Executive Director, Julie Packard. “This action ensures that our resources will cover essential staff who remain in place to maintain the health and welfare of the animals, and that the facilities continue to receive the required level of maintenance.”
Since closing, over two million people have visited the Aquarium website and interest in its 10 live webcams has surged to more than seven million pageviews.
The Aquarium will continue to follow the guidance of state and public health authorities in determining when the facility can safely reopen to the public.