Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which has been closed to the public since March 15 and subsequently laid off 83% of its staff, has received a CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program loan.
With the government loan, the garden will rehire many of the 89 laid-off staff positions. The rehired positions will return on a temporary basis through June 15. The loan is for eight weeks and will cover some staffing through that time.
Positions will be posted on the Lewis Ginter website in stages through Wednesday, April 29, and are expected to be filled quickly. That website is lewisginter.org/visit/about/news/garden- positions-open. Former staff members will need to reapply for their positions.
A core group of 18 staff members were retained at the garden to maintain operations and prepare for its reopening. That group took significant pay cuts. The loan will also be used to restore the reduced pay of those staff members for eight weeks.
“Unfortunately, this is not a return to ‘normal,’ ” said Shane Tippett, executive director, in a statement announcing the loan. “However, this is incredibly good news for the preparations and planning underway now for the Garden’s re-opening, whenever that becomes possible.”
A date for the garden to reopen is still unknown.
“A Garden closure past June 15 would continue to impact vital revenue streams,” Tippett said in the statement. But he added, “The safety of staff, guests, members and volunteers will continue to be the Garden’s top priority.”