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THE SCOOP | Canada’s Banff Centre Temporarily Closes, Lays Off 75% Of Staff

By Michael Vincent on March 20, 2020

The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Photo courtesy of the organization)
The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Photo courtesy of the organization)

President and CEO of the Banff Centre Janice Price has announced The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is temporarily laying off over 400 employees for a period of 60 days amid the COVID-19 virus pandemic. This amounts to about 75% of The Banff Centre’s total employees.

“We can’t keep paying when we don’t have revenue, and there’s no work and activity for them to do,” Price said in a statement to the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

The Banff Centre has closed all programs through May and moved into what they describe as an “essential services” footing until the COVID-19 crisis passes.

“It’s highly likely it will be longer than that,” Price said. “It’s not feasible for us to do our programming in any way that makes sense for our students.”

With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are all in uncharted territory.

Price alluded that maintaining cash-flow is a significant concern, with potentially catastrophic consequences. The Banff Centre has experienced mass-cancellations of scheduled conferences, which they rely on as their second-highest source of revenue.

The Banff Centre has closed most of their public spaces, including the Sally Borden fitness facility, the Paul D. Fleck Library, the Walter Phillips Gallery, Vistas Restaurant, Lloyd Hall and have reduced hours at Maclab Bistro until further notice. The Hub cafeteria will remain open for staff. For those staff living on campus, they will be able to stay but must observe a no room shared policy.

This marks the first time in the Banff Centre’s 87-year history that it has closed for an extended period; this includes 9/11, SARS, H1N1 and the 2013 floods.

There isn’t one artist in Canada that hasn’t been touched or benefited by the Banff Centre in some way. Let’s hope to see them back in action soon.


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Michael Vincent
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