MONTREAL -- Cirque du Soleil is temporarily laying off 95 per cent of its employees, or 4,679 workers.

This decision was made due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced Cirque to cancel all of its shows worldwide.

The cuts take effect immediately, the organization said, adding that the decision was "exincredibly difficult" but a "necessary measure to stabilize the company for the future."

The announcement comes a day after the Montreal-based company said it was temporarily laying off 2,600 employees, including 1,200 artists and 1,400 technicians.