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Calgary Zoo, YMCA announce layoffs amid COVID-19 pandemic

The YMCA location in the Rocky Ridge neighbourhood of Calgary.
The YMCA location in the Rocky Ridge neighbourhood of Calgary. Global News
Calgary businesses continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many announcing layoffs this week.

READ MORE: Alberta has 79 new COVID-19 cases, bringing total to 621

YMCA

YMCA has announced that nearly 1,400 employees at Calgary facilities will be laid off as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Calgary cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19

YMCA Calgary temporarily closed all its facilities on March 15 and cancelled all programs on the advice of Alberta’s chief medical officer of health and by order of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.In a statement to members on Friday, the YMCA said the closures drastically reduce its ability to earn revenue.

READ MORE: Calgary Stampede lays off 80% of workforce due to COVID-19

The president and CEO of YMCA Calgary said in the message that nearly 1,400 staff will be temporarily laid off in order to protect the long-term viability of the YMCA.“As a ‘people first’ charity, we will stay connected to our colleagues, providing support and resources wherever possible, in keeping with our core values of respect, responsibility, honesty and caring,” said CEO Shannon Doram.

READ MORE: COVID-19 impacts Tourism Calgary, 60 per cent of staff to be temporarily laid off

YMCA Calgary said it has plans for offering new ways to support citizens. A small team of staff is developing resources to support the community during the COVID-19 crisis. There is also a new online resource available from the YMCA’s website. 

Calgary Zoo

After closing its gates on March 16, the Calgary Zoo confirmed Friday it has laid off 60 per cent of its employees.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Calgary Airport Authority lays off one-third of staff as travel drops

Officials said a total of 253 full-time and auxiliary positions were impacted.“We temporarily laid off 157 hourly positions directly tied to serving customers and 96 positions related to program development and operations,” said Alison Archambault, the zoo’s director of marketing, sales and communications.“We still have 149 positions focused on caring for our animals and advancing our conservation work locally and globally.”
A panda cub eats bamboo leaves in the Calgary Zoo on Oct. 30, 2019.
A panda cub eats bamboo leaves in the Calgary Zoo on Oct. 30, 2019. Andrew Soong/Xinhua
Care will still be provided for the animals, the zoo said.“While this situation is unprecedented, our beloved animals remain in exceptional care and we’ll continue to stay connected online,” the zoo said on social media, adding that alternate bamboo suppliers are in place for the pandas.

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