The Zoo has made the difficult decision to furlough and eliminate positions at the Zoo. All furloughed employees will retain their health benefits and have been notified. The furloughs are in addition to salary reductions, a hiring freeze and non-animal related expense reductions.
Dennis Pate, president and CEO of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium said, “Decisions affecting our staff are very difficult and not made lightly knowing their 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.”
The Zoo has been closed since March 16 due to the COVID-19 crisis. The closure has resulted in a projected revenue loss estimated up to $26.1M by the end of the year. As a non-profit, 91% of our operating income is a result of admission, membership and other sales such as concessions, gift shops, rides, and events. Zoos, including Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium that employed more than 500 people 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 go directly to caring for the over 30,000 animals. While the Zoo gates are closed, dedicated staff continue to care for the animals each day. We look forward to the day we can welcome guests back to the Zoo. Extensive planning is already taking place by Zoo staff to re- open at a future date to be determined.
Due to the projected revenue shortfall, the Omaha Zoo Foundation has launched an Emergency Fund campaign to support Zoo operations. Members of the community who would like to support can visit the Zoo’s website, OmahaZoo.com.