Disney said Tuesday the company plans to lay off 28,000 workers at its Disneyland and Disney World theme parks because of financial troubles caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The company blamed California’s “unwillingness” to lift COVID-19 restrictions as a contributing factor to the job cuts.
“In light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic — exacerbated in California by the state’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen — we have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels, having kept non-working Cast Members on furlough since April, while paying healthcare benefits,” Disney Chairman Josh D’Amaro said in a statement to the media.
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Disney’s theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have reopened with limited capacity. But Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park have remained shuttered in Anaheim, California because of state ordered closures.
“Approximately 28,000 domestic employees will be affected, of which about 67% are part-time. We are talking with impacted employees as well as to the unions on next steps for union-represented cast members,” D’Amaro added. “We believe that the steps we are taking will enable us to emerge a more effective and efficient operation when we return to normal. Our cast members have always been key to our success, playing a valued and important role in delivering a world-class experience, and we look forward to providing opportunities where we can for them to return.”
The company had originally planned to reopen Disneyland and California Adventure in mid-July, but those plans were halted after California ordered new restrictions following a surge in coronavirus cases after the Memorial Day and July 4th holidays.