Maymont, VMFA lay off workers as Virginia looks ahead to Phase 3

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As Virginia looks ahead to fewer restrictions under the third phase of the state’s reopening plan, businesses continue to face economic distress and lay off employees.

Maymont, which has remained open during the coronavirus pandemic but has seen a deep cut in revenue, laid off 14 full-time employees last week, according to a spokeswoman for the park.

“The reduction in force was a difficult but necessary decision,” Suzy Rohler, the senior director of marketing, strategy & advancement at the Maymont Foundation, told 8News. “As a nonprofit organization, we rely on the support of our community and look forward to continuing to serve them.”

A large portion of Maymont’s operating revenue comes from programs, events and indoor exhibits, which have not been available to the public since March. Rohler said each department at Maymont, a 100-acre Victorian estate and public park, has been impacted as a result but that programming, tours and public events have seen the biggest cuts.

“Unfortunately, this had led us to some difficult decisions to sustain the financial future of Maymont,” she explained.

Rohler added that Maymont’s leadership team has reduced their salaries “for the time being” and that its Robins Nature Center will reopen July 2, which the park hopes will revitalize the foundation.

“We are hopeful that we will return to normal staffing levels as soon as we’re able, although the timing is uncertain,” Rohler said.

Another favorite stop in Richmond, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, also had to recently let go of some of their workers. The art museum laid off 32 part-time gallery associates, who were already on on furlough since late April.

“As with many museums around the country, VMFA has also been affected by the pandemic. The safety requirements, mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia, have greatly limited visitor capacity,” Jan Hatchette, VMFA’s deputy director for communications, told 8News.

The museum, which is expected to reopen to the public on July 4, employs nearly 800 people in total. Hatchette said the VMFA has kept 561 employees on its payroll while the museum had its doors shuttered for three and a half months.

“Employees who have been released are encouraged to reapply in the future, as the need increases and when the pandemic is not affecting visitation and operations. As a state institution, VMFA is required to repost all positions when they reopen and go through the rehiring process,” Hatchette continued.

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