The Pacific Science Center has laid off most of its employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The center employs about 350 people. A statement from CEO Will Daugherty says a small team continues to handle minimum operations, including caring for animals, fundraising and creating new digital programming, including “Understanding COVID-19” “Curiosity at Home” and livestreams of “Science in the City.”

Full- and part-time employees will be paid through March 25, then most will be let go, the statement says.

Employees, who were informed of the decision Thursday, were given the choice of taking paid leave if they have it, unpaid leave or a layoff due to workforce reduction, according to the center.

The center has been closed since March 12, after Gov. Jay Inslee and local officials began restricting the number of people who could gather in public due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than five dozen in Seattle.

“Along with the rest of our community, we have been wrestling with very difficult decisions,” Daugherty said in the statement. “At this point it appears that we will be closed to the public for several weeks and possibly longer. Yesterday (March 19th) we informed most of our employees that we have no work for them and that we do not have the financial resources to pay them while we are closed. This was very painful for all of us.”

“We look forward to reopening as soon as conditions permit,” Daugherty said in the statement.

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