NEW YORK (CeleberityAccess) — One of the largest performing arts organizations in the U.S., plans to furlough all of its unionized employees for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to NPR, the furlough includes everyone from singers and musicians to stagehands.
Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan, used a force majeure clause in the union’s contract to effect the furloughs after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo imposed restrictions on public gatherings in a bid to stem the advance of coronavirus.
A force majeure clause opens a path to altering a contract to a contract in light of uncontrollable circumstances.
The Met will continue to pay health care premiums for its employees and will pay salaries through March 31st, NPR reported.
A spokesperson for the Met disagreed with NPR’s characterization of the furlough as layoffs, instead describing it as “a suspension of employment.”
The Met also announced it has canceled the remainder of its 2019-2020 season, which ran through May 9th.
“As devastating as it is to have to close the Met, this was the rare instance where the show simply couldn’t go on. We send our thanks to our loyal audiences and we’re doing our best to support our employees during this extraordinarily difficult time. We look forward to being reunited in the fall with a new season,” Gelb said in a statement announcing the cancellation.