Disney announced Tuesday that it will lay off close to 28,000 theme park workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple reports.
The layoffs will be “across the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment and impacted US-based employees broadly,” Disney said to the Deseret News in an email.
The 28,000 eliminated jobs represent about 25% of the company’s total workforce.
- 67% of the layoffs will involve part-time workers that receive hourly pay.
- Salaried employees and executives will be laid off, too.
Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, sent an email out to the company’s cast members that explained the layoffs. A copy of the email was sent to the Deseret News.
- “As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have 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.”
D’Amaro released a full statement as well:
“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. 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.
“Over the past several months, we’ve been forced to make a number of necessary adjustments to our business, and as difficult as this decision is today, 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 layoffs come as Disneyland in California continues to wait to reopen. Park officials said the theme park is ready to reopen amid the pandemic but California has yet to issue any guidelines or rules to let them do so.
Meanwhile, Walt Disney World at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, remains open with reduced capacity.