BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley County officials say a number of employees have been let go from Cypress Gardens after the area suffered severe damage from flooding last month.
"The severe damage suffered at Cypress Gardens not only affected the buildings, dock and walkways, it also forced the County to close operations at Cypress Gardens," officials said."Without the revenue from rentals, special events and general admissions – the County simply could not afford to pay for employees to perform services not needed during the Gardens' closure."
According to officials, ten temporary employees and six full time employees were let go; the full time employees will receive pay, insurance and benefits through Nov. 30.
"These sixteen employees have been offered the opportunity to seek a new position within County Government as internal applicants with special consideration," county officials said."Two employees have already been relocated to other departments. A seventh full-time employee, who was already retired within the state system and was working as an at-will employee, was relieved of his duties."
"While the layoffs are unfortunate and the timing not desired, the County did so on Friday to ensure certain requirements about disaster unemployment assistance from the South Carolina Department of Workforce paid by FEMA were met. According to SCDEW, the deadline to apply for FEMA benefits is November 5, 2015. The County has retained eight employees to handle the necessary care of the facilities and animals while Cypress Gardens is closed."
The attraction, which includes boat rides on a black swamp and a butterfly house, has been featured in numerous national magazines and popular television shows and motion pictures including The Notebook and The Patriot.