SeaWorld San Antonio lays off 242 employees

COVID-19 blamed for low park attendance, consumer concerns

SeaWorld to permanently terminate some furloughed employees, SEC filing reveals

SAN ANTONIO – SeaWorld San Antonio has laid off 242 employees, according to documents the theme park submitted to the Texas Workforce Commission.

According to SeaWorld San Antonio Park President Byron Surrett, the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the theme park’s attendance and revenue.

Even though the park opened in June at a reduced operating schedule and guest capacity after being shut down in March, it couldn’t recover due to " self-imposed limitations and consumer concerns regarding COVID-19 and other factors."

“The effects upon the amusement and theme park industry have been significant and sustained,” Surrett said in the filing.

The layoffs went into effect on Sept. 4 and employees affected will get information about eligibility for separation benefits, Surrett said. Full-time and salaried employees will be given four weeks of severance pay. Laid-off workers can apply for future positions at any SeaWorld park.

The following statement was emailed to KSAT 12 News regarding the layoffs:

"The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on each of our lives, in ways both small and profound. The same is true for the travel, tourism, entertainment, and hospitality industries, and the operations of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.

While we were able to bring thousands of furloughed Ambassadors back to work and hoped to bring back everyone, the current environment requires us to set up the company for long term success. SeaWorld has determined that it must transition certain park and corporate personnel from a furloughed status to a permanent layoff.

We deeply appreciate the hard work and dedication of our Ambassadors to our company’s shared mission, values, and goals. Over our 60-year history, our parks have inspired millions of guests to love, protect and care for our planet’s animals and their habitats. We are sorry to have to part ways with any team members in this difficult moment, but their abiding commitment to our guests, fellow Ambassadors and animals is recognized and made a lasting impact." – SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of since the website's launch in October 2000.