The impact felt by COVID-19 is reverberating throughout people’s personal lives and the economy. To say nothing of the tragic deaths of those who’ve succumbed to the illness, those who aren’t contaminated or contagious aren’t free from the ramifications either.
Real Salt Lake’s staff almost felt those effects today, but suddenly and mysteriously didn’t.
Here’s the timeline of events from Monday and Tuesday of this week, confirmed by sources within the organization:
Monday, 5:30 p.m.: A source within the club confirmed that Monday night at around 5:30 p.m., Real Salt Lake sent a meeting invite to employees across all three professional teams notifying them of individual meetings to be held between each staff member, their direct supervisor, the GM, and human resources. The meeting invite was cryptically titled COVID-19 Update and employees quickly realized that the meetings were spaced out 15 minutes apart from each other, according to the source. Staff members didn’t have to be detectives to see that something potentially ominous was coming, with rumor amongst the staff being that terminations or a furlough were imminent.
Monday, 11:30 p.m.: The front office cancelled all meeting invites that went out to staff members with no further information given.
Tuesday, 8:28 a.m. RSL Show’s Jake Simons tweeted the following, causing a mini-earthquake amongst both RSL fans and front office higher-ups.
Hearing that @realsaltlake has furloughed/laid off a large portion of their workforce yesterday and today due to #COVIDー19 and the season being delayed. No word yet as to whether those affected will be receiving severance packages or extended benefits.— Jake (@SLTID_Jake) March 24, 2020
Andy Carroll, Chief Business Officer at Real Salt Lake, caught wind of the tweet and wanted to make sure that people knew that his decisions are not based on Twitter reactions and that the cancellation of meetings was done the night prior. This aligns with the source above, given the fact they cancelled the night before the tweet went out.
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. As you can imagine, the meeting invites and subsequent public tweets were the main topic amongst RSL staff members as they remain home not able to work. A source inside the club has mentioned to me that the furlough may not have been actually cancelled, but that it has been postponed until mid-April while the club evaluates their current financial situation.
Of course, the club’s official position is that none of this is true; that it is all hearsay at this point. An email sent from Andy Carroll to staff members on Tuesday expressed that sentiment, describing the talk of furloughs as “rumors on social media” and indicating that the club leadership was “working closely together in developing the best Business Continuity Plan possible.”
We’ll keep our ear to the ground and provide any updates as they become available.