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Furloughs At The Dallas Zoo As COVID-19 Affects Future Financial Forecasts

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in temporary and permanent job reductions being made at the Dallas Zoo.

Zoo officials announced Thursday that, because of the coronavirus and a reduced revenue forecast, the nonprofit is implementing partial and full furloughs.

The job reductions will impact about 25% of the zoo's more than 400 employees.

The Dallas Zoo was closed to the public for more three months -- during what is typically its busiest season -- and is now estimating a Spring and Summer revenue loss of more than $5 million.

The furloughs, which go into effect this weekend, will mean the temporary or permanent end of work for just over 100 full- and part-time employees, as well as variable-hour seasonal staff.

Affected zoo employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits and, if covered by the zoo's health insurance plan, also will retain those benefits for a period of time.

In addition to the furloughs, the Dallas Zoo is reducing compensation by up to 15% for its senior staff members.

Officials say the moves -- which also include offering first-ever early retirement incentives, freezing at least 75 open positions and permanently closing the Adventure Safari Monorail and the Children's Aquarium -- are being made to, "...stabilize its financial situation and to right size the organization to align with current and projected attendance numbers."

"We are all facing the harsh reality that the fallout of this global pandemic will be lasting and far reaching," said Dallas Zoo president and CEO Gregg Hudson. "At the onset of this pandemic, our entire organization pulled together quickly and enacted many measures that were beneficial. However, we are now faced with a very dim financial forecast and are at the point where we have to be fiscally responsible to protect the long-term future of the Zoo."

As a nonprofit, a large portion of the zoo's revenue is generated through admissions, memberships, donations, and other sales such as rides, events, and concessions.

With no guests visiting the zoo for months, revenue dropped dramatically while the Zoo faced ongoing expenses for animals.

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