Henry Doorly Zoo furloughs employees, reduces salary

Nebraska News

Omaha, Neb. (KCAU) – Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo has furloughed employees and eliminated positions following salary reductions and a hiring freeze. Non-animal related expense reductions have also been implemented.

All furloughed employees will retain their health benefits and have been notified according to a press release from the zoo.

Dennis Pate, president and CEO of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium said the decisions were not made lightly knowing the staff’s level of commitment to the Zoo.

“While this has been difficult, we take some solace knowing that our actions to date have reduced the spread of the disease and helped assure the continued financial health of the Zoo,” Pate said.

The Zoo has been closed since March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure has resulted in a projected revenue loss estimated up to $26.1 million by the end of the year.

As a non-profit, 91% of the zoo’s operating income is a result of admissions, membership and other sales such as concessions, gift shops, rides, and events.

With over 500 employees, the zoo did not qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program included in the CARES Act.

We want to offer a heartfelt thank you to our community that has continued to support us through this difficult time by purchasing their membership which goes directly to caring for the over 30,000 animals.

Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

While the zoo gates are closed, staff continue to care for the animals every day. Planning is already underway for the zoo to reopen at some point in the future.

Due to the projected revenue shortfall, the Omaha Zoo Foundation has cut its budget by 36% launched an emergency fund campaign to support zoo operations.

Those who would like to offer support can visit the Zoo’s website.

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