SeaWorld, owner of Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, to furlough over 90% of employees



NATIONAL (WAVY) – According to an SEC filing, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced on Friday that the company plans to furlough more than 90 percent of employees in response to coronavirus closures and social distancing efforts.

The company – which owns 12 parks nationwide, including local amusement parks Water Country and Bush Gardens – stated that the temporary furlough period begins as of April 1 and employees will not be compensated after March 31.

The SEC filing did not specify whether the furlough affects each of the company’s 12 parks differently.

According to a letter sent to SeaWorld staff, active employee benefits end March 31 with the exception of healthcare covered under COBRA insurance. Employees are eligible for unemployment benefits.

The letter also states that employees affected by this are not guaranteed future employment, but the company plans to bring its “Ambassadors” back once normal park operations resume.

While theme-parks will remain closed until further notice, the company states that animal care experts will continue to look after the animals. 

Busch Gardens Williamsburg confirmed more than 90 percent of its workforce is impacted.

“As a company in an industry dependent on travel and tourism, the current pandemic has impacted our business significantly. Our parks will remain closed and are unable to generate revenue; therefore, we have made the painful but necessary business decision to temporarily furlough over 90% of our current workforce, including corporate employees, to position the company for long-term viability,” according to Seaworld officials. “During this time, our focus is on resuming normal operations and welcoming back guests and Ambassadors as quickly as possible.  

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