In a sign that coronavirus-inspired live-event postponements and large-gathering bans may last longer than some are anticipating, Cirque du Soleil has fired a staggering 95 percent of its staff.
The Montreal-based entertainment company cited the economic strain of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the cancellation of all upcoming shows, as the cause of the dismissals. Cirque du Soleil, like most other live event companies, was compelled to put its schedule on ice because of health concerns and public-gathering bans.
Cirque du Soleil emphasized that the layoffs are ‘temporary,’ and that they intend to bring the impacted employees back on board once the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Speaking of the decision to let the vast majority of his employees go, Cirque du Soleil President and CEO Daniel Lamarre said he and his team were “saddened,” while also stating that “we are forced to position ourselves to weather this storm and prepare for eventual re-openings.”
The five percent of remaining Cirque du Soleil employees will brainstorm and plan for a return to normalcy. While the company’s long-term schedule depends heavily on the coming weeks’ and months’ coronavirus developments, higher-ups are reportedly targeting late 2020 for new dates.
Meanwhile, a growing number of entertainment professionals are suffering financially because of the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdowns and large-gathering bans have made it nearly impossible for gig musicians and other performers to earn a living, and many, including Recording Academy interim President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr., are calling on charities and the federal government for support.
Previously, SXSW had to lay off one-third of its staff, and over the weekend, Paradigm Talent Agency parted ways with more than two dozen employees.
In all likelihood, artists, Cirque performers, and other impacted individuals will enjoy renewed income shortly after the coronavirus dies down. The situation’s chief difficulty, however, is predicting when this end will come, and taking the appropriate steps to hasten its arrival.
Earlier today, Olympic officials announced that the Tokyo 2020 games will be delayed, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson put his country on lockdown. Currently, health professionals have diagnosed about 380,000 COVID-19 cases. Over 100,000 people have recovered from the infection, while approximately 16,500 have perished from it.