Canadiens Temporarily Layoff 60% of Employees Due to Coronavirus Crisis

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Groupe CH, the group that owns the Canadiens, announced Tuesday it will temporarily lay off 60% of its employees due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sports industry.

The reduction will take place on March 30 and is a result of the suspended NHL and AHL seasons. Groupe CH also owns the AHL's Laval Rockets.

"Now more than ever, it is important to support our community and demonstrate our solidarity to one another. We are working extremely hard to limit the impact this situation will have on our employees," Groupe CH owner, president, and CEO, Geoff Molson said in a statement. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank our employees for their understanding and patience. During difficult times like these, our commitment to one another will help us rebound faster."

The organization has created a $6 million assistance fund so employees will receive insurance benefits for eight weeks and 80% of their base salary during this time. Groupe CH plans to bring employees back to work as soon as it's able to.

The move comes after the NHL reportedly decided to reduce league office employees' salaries by 25% during the pandemic. Josh Harris, the owner of the Devils and 76ers, previously announced full-time, salaried employees who earn over $50,000 would have their pay reduced by 20% next month. However, he backtracked on Tuesday and said he would not reduce any salaries.