Lincoln Park Zoo announced Wednesday it will be laying off 18 workers which is about seven percent of the Zoo's staff.
The lay-offs come after the zoo is expecting a budget shortfall of $2.5-5 million minimum this fiscal year, according to Director of Public Relations and Communications Jillian Braun.
"The financial burden of the [coronavirus] pandemic has become too large to carry our current salary investment," she said. "Unfortunately we had to let go of 18 people, or about seven percent of our staff."
The Zoo, which has about 3.5 million visitors annually, closed temporarily in March to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
She added that the future for the zoo is unclear but there are hopes to see an influx of earned revenue when the zoo reopens, although the date for that is unclear.
"Today is a difficult day for the Lincoln Park Zoo family. Having to say goodbye to staff with a reduction in force is always a last resort," Braun said. "...We do not know what the future will bring and will not be able to recoup the funds lost during the closure."