According to the Wall Street Journal, Universal Studios Beijing has been laying off staff as the pain from the summer lockdown kicks in.
A heightened omicron outbreak forced Universal Beijing Resort to shut from May 1 to June 25. Sources say the theme park has reduced its manpower since the beginning of the lockdown. And as it scaled back wages because of the setback, others quit voluntarily.
Universal Parks & Resorts, a unit of NBCUniversal, said the pandemic prompted some changes to its senior and professional employment levels and compensation.
A spokesman said, “Like many other businesses, we had to make difficult decisions as we’ve managed through the pandemic. We are encouraged by what we’ve seen since we reopened.”
As the resort resumed, it had to operate with COVID protocols in place. Instead of closing at 9 p.m. four days a week, the park closes at 7 p.m. The evening light show is off these days. Some venues over the Citywalk shopping zone remain closed for COVID.
Citing information from a social media group used by the resort, the Journal said that Universal Beijing Resort’s human resources were 9,000 by the end of August. It was about a 25% decrease from the reopening and lower than the flaunted 14,000 new jobs the magical theme park said it could create.
The resort debuted in September 2021 and has two hotels, a CityWalk shopping zone, and the Universal Studios theme park. After the summer closure, several venues in the shopping zone remain temporarily closed for the pandemic.
The state-owned Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment has a 70% vested interest in the Universal Beijing Resort, with Comcast Corporation’s Universal Parks & Resorts owning the remaining 30%.
Until now, China’s battle with COVID only persisted with minor break times. Defying the CCP’s stringent human control, the free-wheeling virus only spread to most of its provinces in late August. Reuters reported from Chinese state media that compared to last year, the number of trips made during China’s three-day mid-Autumn Festival decreased by more than a third to 48.18 million.