Virgin Voyages has begun laying off staff following the postponement of its first sailing.
Scarlet Lady, the first vessel from the brand, was expected to launch on April 1st.
However, this has now been delated until August 7th at the earliest in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to the delay, Virgin Voyages has been forced to make a number of redundancies.
A statement explained: “When Virgin Voyages was founded nearly seven years ago, we never dreamed the world and our industry would be facing the type of challenges we all are today.
“These are especially hard times for hospitality and travel.
“We have strong stakeholders who are completely behind us and supportive of Virgin Voyages, but there is a need to make some tough decisions in the interim.”
The statement added: “Our goal right now is to take care of our crew as much as we’re able to despite the global challenges, as Virgin has always been a people-first brand.
“Until we set sail, we wish health and wellbeing to all and we look forward to when we can travel together again.”
The news comes despite assurances from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson that layoffs would be avoided wherever possible.
Commenting on the delayed launch, Branson added: “We want to assure you that we have absolutely no health issues aboard our ship and have elevated protocols in place as we continue to put your well-being first.
“This is a once in a lifetime launch and a once in a lifetime customer experience, and we will do it together when we can all feel free to enjoy ourselves.
“To expand on our commitment to fostering the best environment for our Sailors, Virgin Voyages is working with relevant parties to research new technologies that will help to expedite health screenings and make people feel safe.
“Developments are ongoing, and the hope is to identify this opportunity over the course of the next month.”
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