Nearly two weeks after Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden closed its gates in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it has laid off 42 staff members, or about 80% of its workforce.
The garden, which turned 20 last year, had employed 51 people until this week. Now, it has a staff of nine.
Cuts were made in every department, from senior leaders to members of the custodial staff, said Executive Director Patrick Larkin. The horticulture staff has dropped from seven to two-and-a-half, he said.
If the garden remains closed through May, Larkin expects it will lose more than $500,000 in projected income from ticket sales and special events. And the losses will be even deeper, he said, due to memberships and donations that won’t be coming in.
Earlier this month, area residents looking for a fresh-air escape had flocked to the 110-acre garden in Gaston County in higher numbers than usual, Larkin