The latest local arts organization to announce workforce cutbacks during mandatory shutdown is the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s waterfront museum of science, art and human perception.
On Tuesday, museum leadership announced layoffs and hours reductions affecting some 85 percent of employees, an Exploratorium staff member confirmed. The cuts include salary reductions for nearly 250 employees, with half of them reduced to minimum hours; hours suspensions for 150 on-call event staff; and layoffs of more than 100 part-time student workers.
Revenue is down 80 percent since the Exploratorium closed on March 12, and the museum faces an estimated $5 million in quarterly losses. Museums throughout the region are shuttered in accordance with local and statewide orders to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the Exploratorium much more than anything we have faced in our first half-century,” Chris Flink, director and chief executive of the Exploratorium, said in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported the cutbacks on Tuesday.
Laid off employees will be eligible for rehire when the Exploratorium reopens. Museum leadership expects to reopen July 1. In the interim, employees who previously had health benefits will retain them. Leadership figures including Flink are also taking pay reductions.