Carnival to lay off hundreds in Florida, other states

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FILE – In a Thursday, March 26, 2020 file photo, Carnival Cruise ships are docked at the Port of Tampa in Tampa, Fla. Carnival Cruise Lines says it plans to gradually resume cruising in North America in August, nearly five months after it halted operations due to the new coronavirus. Sailings will begin on Aug. 1 with eight ships setting off from Galveston, Texas; Miami; and Port Canaveral, Florida. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

MIAMI (AP) — Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise company, announced on Thursday it will be laying off hundreds of employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s CEO Arnold Donald said the combination of layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts were “necessary” as the pause on cruise travel enters its third month.

The majority of affected employees in the U.S. will be in Florida, California and Washington state, Carnival Corp. said in an email. The company is eliminating 820 positions and furloughing 537 employees for up to six months in Florida out of a workforce of about 3,000 employees.

Carnival Corp. did not reveal the number of job eliminations in the other states or countries around the world.

“Taking these extremely difficult employee actions involving our highly dedicated workforce is a very tough thing to do. Unfortunately, it’s necessary, given the current low level of guest operations and to further endure this pause,” Donald said in a statement.

Cruise lines announced they were halting sailing on March 13 due to the spread of the coronavirus. Several cruise ships saw outbreaks of COVID-19 cases and found themselves stranded at sea after being rejected by port authorities who were worried they would import more cases.

Companies have been trying to repatriate tens of thousands of crew members who are still on ships in or near U.S. waters due to the increase in restrictions by health authorities in the U.S. and abroad.

Carnival Cruise Line, one of the company’s brands, announced earlier this month it will start cruising again beginning in August to Caribbean destinations from Florida and Texas.

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