Universal has announced that, due to the current pandemic, their stateside parks in both California and Florida would remain closed through May 31st at the least. This includes resort hotels in Orlando and the CityWalk districts on both coasts. The unprecedented closures began in mid-March with the Stay-At-Home orders that originated with California Governor, Gavin Newsom. From there, out of an abundance of caution, the parks were first closed until mid-April, and now extended through May.
In a statement Universal Parks and Resorts said…
“We are extending the closure of Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood at least through May 31 as we continue to respond to current conditions and make the health and safety of team members and guests our top priority. This includes our theme parks and Universal CityWalk at both destinations. The Universal Orlando Resort hotels have also temporarily suspended operations through this time period. We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed, based on guidance from health agencies and government officials.”
What does this mean for the army of creatives, performers, builders, and front-line employees? Team members are at least guaranteed wages until April 19th. Beginning April 20th, Universal will lower the wage to 80% of regular pay. Beginning May 3rd, part-time hourly workers will be furloughed, but will still be keeping their benefits for the time being.
“Taking care of our team members during this difficult and challenging time remains one of our most important priorities. We are working hard to find solutions that also allow us to sustain our business. Our team members will be paid at 100 percent through April 19, but as we enter a more prolonged closure period, we need to take additional measures. Beginning April 20, nearly all our team members will be paid at 80 percent of their pay – and we will ask them to adjust their work accordingly. A small group of team members will be asked to continue working at 100 percent and will continue to be paid at that level. We have also made the difficult decision that we will furlough our part-time hourly workers beginning May 3. During this time, we will fully cover the cost of benefit plans for those team members who have them. All of these team members remain in our thoughts – and, while we don’t yet know when, we look forward to returning them to work one day.”
So, the lesson is this. Stay at home and flatten the curve that continues to skyrocket in the United States. As of this writing, there are 492,995 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the Corona Virus, with just under 20,000 deaths. Take this seriously folks. We commend Universal for being proactive and looking out for their team members. We also wish for a speedy resolution to this madness.