Pandemic leads to staff cuts at Washington Pavilion

Local News

Several employees at the Washington Pavilion are out of a job. President and CEO Darrin Smith says the venue has had to lay-off members of its staff due to the pandemic. The Pavilion recently canceled its Broadway performance season for 2020-2021.

The doors are open, and the welcome signs are up. But, like so many non-profits, The Washington Pavilion just isn’t as busy as it was a year ago.

“It could be a couple of years before we’re back to exactly where we were before the pandemic,” Smith said.

Smith says the Pavilion has reduced its staff by 25-percent through layoffs, furloughs, and cut hours.
Before the pandemic, Smith says there were about 130 employees. If you do that math with those two numbers, the total comes out to about 32 people. However, Smith says he’s unable to confirm a specific number.

Brady Mallory: How many people is 25-percent?
Smith: Well, that’s the thing. I can’t really give you a number. It’s somebody who works at the concession stand five hours a week. It’s a person who works 30 hours a week. It’s full time.

The pandemic has reduced how much money the Washington Pavilion is bringing in and how many staff members it needs. Smith says some of the cuts will come next month, but the bulk happened in July at the start of the Pavilion’s budget. At that point, venue leaders were hopeful the cuts would be temporary.

“Unfortunately, with the Broadway season and shows just not touring, those furloughs became position eliminations and became more permanent,” Smith said.

They’re tough decisions, but Smith hopes they will help keep the doors open during this tough time.

“All you can do is make the best decisions you can for everybody involved and then hope like heck we can get back on our feet and get these positions filled and welcome some of these folks back,” Smith said.

Smith says there are still several performances and exhibits visitors can enjoy. You can learn more about them by visiting the Pavilion’s website.

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