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Marine Science



Monterey Bay Aquarium lays off staff. The prolonged closure of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in response to efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus has led to the organisation to lay off 93 employees and furlough an additional 128 employees — a 38% reduction in workforce — while also implementing a 20% compensation reduction for executive leadership and vice presidents, and 10% for employees making more than $100K per year.

A statement said: “Since closing on March 12, the Aquarium committed to paying all employees — regardless of their job responsibilities and ability to work remotely — for six weeks ending April 26. As that date approaches and the expected duration of closure grows longer, these difficult cuts were necessary to ensure the financial viability of the institution and ensure the safety of the animals in their care. The minimum revenue shortfall now projected through the end of the year is at least a 60% drop — $40M.

“All employees affected by this staff reduction were provided with two-weeks’ notice and are eligible to file for unemployment. The Aquarium will cover the cost of health insurance premiums for furloughed employees. “

“These were painful but necessary decisions to maintain the health of the Aquarium,” said Executive Director, Julie Packard. “This action ensures that our resources will cover essential staff who remain in place to maintain the health and welfare of the animals, and that the facilities continue to receive the required level of maintenance.”

Since closing, over two million people have visited the Aquarium website and interest in its 10 live webcams has surged to more than seven million pageviews. Staff continues to provide an array of engaging virtual guest experiences across social media platforms. New educational programming designed for learning at home has received an overwhelming response and over 5,000 students have enrolled in online elementary courses, with numbers growing daily.

The Aquarium will follow the guidance of state and public health authorities in determining when the facility can safely reopen to the public.



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