Nearly 200 Orange County Convention Center employees moved to other departments to avoid layoffs

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — As the coronavirus pandemic wages on, the Orange County Convention Center continues to feel the pinch.

The convention center is moving employees around to keep from having to lay them off. That’s a 55% reduction in the convention center’s workforce.

Workers will be moving to new jobs throughout the county.

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The convention center is making about $17 million worth of budget cuts by cutting back on things like the constant cleaning, maintenance and electricity running in the massive buildings.

But they’re also spreading their employees out to other county departments, until things start to look more normal.

Since the pandemic started, 47 events have rescheduled for a $681 million impact, and 78 have canceled altogether for a $2.1 billion impact.

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“It is very nerve-wracking to have so many unknowns in the industry, and we don’t know when things are going to get fully back on track,” said event manager Hannah Starner.

If not for reassignments, Chief Financial Officer Ray Walls said keeping the center’s skilled staff would be in jeopardy.

“We would certainly be discussing furloughs and layoffs, just like everybody else around here has,” Walls said.

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About 190 convention center employees will transition into new, temporary jobs with Orange County by Feb. 1, which includes everything from handing out PPE to helping with testing sites.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.