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Hundreds of ushers are out of work after operators of the TD Garden — the home of the NBA’s Boston Celtics and NHL’s Boston Bruins — informed them of layoffs after two weeks off due to the sports world’s coronavirus shutdown.
The Garden sent the ushers a letter with the decision on Tuesday, according to the Boston Herald:
A letter sent to ushers and obtained by the Herald was titled “Operational Impact of Coronavirus,” and said workers “will not be scheduled until the conditions at our unit allows us to resume normal operations. As this situation is rapidly evolving, we will continue to update you with the anticipated date that we will resume business. We hope to provide as much notice as possible.”
The note goes on to state employees may be eligible for unemployment and they hoped the changes would be “short-lived.”
The laid off employees number in the hundreds, according to the Boston Globe.
With the CDC advising the public to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people until at least mid-May, it’s tough to see the changes being reversed anytime soon.
Bruins established $1.5 million fund for employees, after delay and with caveats
The Bruins were the last team in the NHL to commit to supporting the gameday workers out of a job amid the coronavirus crisis. Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey had to publicly urge the team to do something.
The Bruins ended up establishing a $1.5 million fund to assist employees, but even then it made payouts contingent on the Bruins’ remaining six home games being canceled rather than making the money available immediately.
That means employees who would receive the money will have to wait until the NHL makes a decision on what to do for the rest of the regular season, which could be weeks or even months. A GoFundMe has also been established to support the workers, but it has only raised about $41,000 as of Tuesday.
Again, Jacobs — whose company is haggling over $1.5 million being given out to out-of-work employees — is worth $3.1 billion.
What about the Celtics?
The decision to lay off the workers is less attributable to the Celtics, who lease the Garden rather than owning it. The arena is owned by Delaware North, which is in turn owned by the Jacobs family.
For their part, the Celtics have committed to paying all team-employed game night staff through the end of the scheduled regular season, according to MassLive. That includes staff such as game-night performers and locker room attendants.
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