COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Tuesday announced it is furloughing 29 employees and eliminating 33 positions across the zoo and The Wilds.
The zoo said 29 full- and part-time employees will be furloughed and 33 non-animal care positions have been eliminated. The actions are in response to financial hardship from mandatory closures and constraints to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Affected employees were individually notified on Monday, according to the zoo. The employees whose positions were eliminated will receive severance pay, and furloughed employees will continue to receive benefits.
The zoo is projecting a budget shortfall of at least $25 million for the 2020 fiscal year. The staff reductions are in addition to budget reductions made in March.
“The Zoo has been closed since March 16 due to this global pandemic, and while we are confident that we’ll reopen sometime this summer, we cannot predict when. With this uncertainly and budget pressures, we must take steps to be fiscally responsible and protect the long-term future of our institution,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf. “This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do as CEO. Our employees are some of the most dedicated and passionate people in the world’s zoo community.”