A troupe of circus performers have been stuck in a Texas parking lot for nearly two months, and their supplies of food and money are dwindling as the coronavirus pandemic continues with no end in sight, Yahoo Life reports. Many of the performers are from countries that have instituted travel bans, meaning that the performers effectively have no homes to go to.
Cirque MonteCarlo had been touring through Texas in early March, just as the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic was starting to be fully understood in the U.S. By March 9, the group had made it as far as the town of Grand Prairie, before dwindling ticket sales and shelter-in-place orders forced them to shut down.
They’ve been in a nearby location, which they’ve declined to divulge due to privacy concerns, ever since.
The troupe’s home operations manager, Cindi Cavallini, says that they thought that the lockdown would last two or three weeks. Instead, it’s been nearly two months, and it’s not going away any time soon.
“We were not expecting it to drag this long,” she said.
Fortunately, the circus was able to hastily negotiate boarding arrangements with the owner of a nearby parking lot. Further, since the circus is a traveling operation, the performers are used to living on the road, and their caravan of equipment includes living space and facilities to store and prepare food.
However, there is no ticket revenue coming in, and the group still has to come up with $500 per week to pay their rent. Further, the troupe’s generators burn through hundreds of dollars of diesel fuel per day. And of course, the performers and support staff need to be fed. The circus does not use animals, so there are no animals to feed.
What’s more, since most of the staff are from South American countries that have banned international travel, the performers can’t go back to their homes.
The troupe has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for food and rent. As of this writing, they’ve raised just over $4,000 of their $10,000 goal.
We have made a commitment to [our employees] and they have stayed loyal to us during this very trying period,” reads the crowdsourcing page.
Meanwhile, with nothing to do, the performers spend their days practicing their acts or playing soccer and chess. Two members venture into town for food and fuel, and they are “disinfected” when they return from trips out.
“We were not prepared for this pandemic to take such a toll on us,” Cavallini says.