Universal Orlando is laying off 1,123 salaried employees at its creative division, theme parks and resorts, the company has disclosed in a federally required notice of mass layoffs.
Universal disclosed in the notice that 373 employees losing their jobs worked at the Universal Creative office at 8523 Commodity Circle. The majority of the layoffs — 678 people — are occurring at 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, offices located near the theme parks. None of these positions involved hourly workers, the company said.
The employees were or will be terminated anywhere from Aug. 24 to the end of the year, according to a letter sent by a human resources executive.
All employees have been notified and given at least 60 days’ notice of their dismissal, said the letter, dated Nov. 12.
“As a full recovery will take time, the company has had to make very difficult decisions, including reducing some of its workforce,” said Scot LaFerté, senior vice president of human resources.
The company has undergone several rounds of layoffs this year during the coronavirus pandemic but hasn’t provided details of how many people were laid off when the Orlando Sentinel previously asked. In September, Universal did reveal it was placing 5,400 workers, which included a variety of positions from ride attendants to actors, on extended furlough.
In 2019, before the coronavirus struck, Universal Resort in Orlando had about 27,000 employees.
The layoffs at Universal Creative come after corporate owner Comcast announced a delay in the construction of Orlando’s third theme park, called Epic Universe.
“All things considered, it’s a big capital swing, so better to really march forward with that when we have just a bit more visibility on what’s going on with the economy post-COVID,” Comcast Chief Financial Officer Mike Cavanagh said in May. “I can’t tell you when that’s going to be when we revisit it.”
Orlando’s theme park industry has been decimated with layoffs and furloughs throughout the year after the parks shut down in March from the coronavirus. The attractions reopened with limited capacity and mask requirements this summer in a different world. Consumers are still concerned about traveling and some areas of the country, including Orlando County, are reporting rising numbers of the highly contagious coronavirus.
In late September, the Walt Disney Co. disclosed it was laying off 28,000 people across its theme park division. About 18,000 of those employees ended up being from Central Florida.
Also that month, SeaWorld revealed 1,900 employees were losing their jobs at the Orlando parks.
Universal did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
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