Below is an important all-staff message sent today by Aquarium President & CEO Keith Sanford:
Dear Aquarium staff and volunteers,
The global Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency continues to have profound impacts on everyone. The tourism industry has been particularly hard hit by this crisis, including the Tennessee Aquarium.
Due to the uncertainty regarding the duration of this crisis, we don’t know how long we will have to remain closed to the public. Therefore, we have had to fully re-assess our financial situation. And regrettably, for the first time in the Aquarium’s history, this means hardships for our team.
The timing of this emergency comes at the worst possible time of our business cycle. The Spring Break period is when we begin to re-build our cash reserves following the off-peak winter months. Without revenue from admissions, we have had to make some difficult decisions to ensure the organization’s future stability. Myself, and all VPs and Directors, took the first step by committing to a reduction in salary.
However, without guests, we cannot maintain the same staff levels we employ during normal operating conditions. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to layoff our part-time employees as of March 27, 2020.
We notified these people of this permanent layoff earlier today. Their final payroll deposit will be made on April 3, 2020.
Each individual was a valued part of our team and we deeply appreciate their service. Further, we hope they will reapply for open positions once it is safe to welcome guests back to the Aquarium.
While most of us have never experienced a crisis of this magnitude in our lifetimes, I want to reassure you that the Aquarium’s senior leadership team and our Board of Trustees have put the Aquarium in a position to weather this storm.
While we work on contingencies that will improve our long-term outlook, we’ll need each of you to come together to keep moving forward.
I am grateful for your efforts and I’m inspired by your dedication to the Aquarium’s mission.