March 19, 2020 / 6:34 PM / 15 days ago

Cirque du Soleil lays off performers as coronavirus leads to cancelled shows

March 19 (Reuters) - Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group laid off all its performers on Thursday as social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic forced the Montreal-based circus company to cancel shows.

Movie theaters, malls and retail stores have shut to limit the spread of the virus that has killed more than 100 people in the United States.

Earlier this month, the company had temporarily suspended its shows in Las Vegas, one of its prominent areas.

Cities and countries where the group performs have unanimously legislated the closure of public gatherings of more than 250 people, following government guidance, the company said.

“This decision is our only option,” Chief Executive Officer Daniel Lamarre said in a statement.

The circus group said a core support team will continue to work on tour plans and ticket sales for shows later this year and in 2021 and prepare for rehiring when productions resume.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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