Due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the closure of all shows across the world, Montreal-based entertainment company Cirque du Soleil has had to enact substantial temporary staffing restrictions, impacting 95% of its workforce (4,679 employees), according to an official press release.
The decision, effective immediately, is an unfortunate but necessary action to ensure the future of the company.
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“As a result of the health crisis, cities and countries where the Group performs have unanimously legislated the closure of public gatherings of more than 250 people, following government guidance,” the release explains.
“Consequently, the company was left with no other option but to call for an unprecedented halt in activity until the pandemic is controlled and its performers, employees and audience members are no longer at risk.”
Cirque du Soleil had 44 live shows going on when the coronavirus outbreak began.
After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus to be a pandemic, the company was left with no choice but to completely shut down all operations.
“It is the most difficult day in Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group history. We’re deeply saddened by the dramatic measures taken today, as the temporary layoff includes many hardworking, dedicated people,” Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, said in the release.
“Unfortunately, this decision is our only option as we are forced to position ourselves to weather this storm and prepare for eventual re-openings.”
The company is working closely with all of its partners, as well as federal and provincial governments, to ensure they are doing all they can to support their employees.
Actions being taken to support the temporarily laid-off workers include paid vacation time, insurance coverage maintained over the layoff period, as well as access to the Group’s employee support program.
These temporary measures, as well as a core support team that will continue working in the company to sustain basic operations, will put Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group in a position to maintain services and rebuild once the coronavirus pandemic is controlled.
“As one of the most trusted brands and successful live entertainment organizations, we are confident that when the day comes when we can re-open our shows, we will be ready to welcome the millions of fans who come to our shows worldwide,” said Lamarre.