Coronavirus forces Cirque du Soleil to temporarily lay off nearly all staff

The Montreal-based brand has canceled shows amid the outbreak

The lights have gone out on Cirque du Soleil.

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The Montreal-based entertainment company temporarily laid off almost all its staff amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has canceled shows and forced people to stay at home.

About 95 percent of its workforce will be slashed, or more than 4,000 people, the company said in a statement, adding it hopes to “rebuild once the global crisis subsides.”

“This was an incredibly difficult decision for the group, but a necessary measure to stabilize the company for the future,” the brand wrote in the note. “The company was left with no other option but to call for an unprecedented halt in activity until the pandemic is controlled and its performers, employees and audience members are no longer at risk.”

Cirque du Soleil on Monday suspended all of its shows on the Las Vegas Strip and has now shuttered all 44 of its productions around the globe as officials limit public gatherings.

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The company noted that it is working with its partners as well as federal and provincial governments to create a plan to support workers impacted by the outbreak. As of now, that includes paid vacation and insurance coverage during the temporary layoff.

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Since initial reports of the outbreak, the virus has infected roughly 270,000 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, resulting in over 11,200 deaths.

The U.S. Senate is working on a deal to send $1,200 checks to each U.S. adult as part of a stimulus plan to bolster the U.S economy amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

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