Disney Parks Announces Layoffs Due to COVID-19 Impact on Business

Disney is the latest entity in the world of entertainment forced to undergo extensive layoffs as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As Disneyland remains shuttered for the sixth straight month, Disney Parks chairman Josh D'Amaro announced in a statement Tuesday afternoon the company has made the decision to lay off upwards of 28,000 employees that are employed by one of Disney's numerous theme parks. According to D'Amaro's statement, nearly 67-percent of the workers impacted by the layoff were part-time workers that had previously be furloughed since April.

In his statement, D'Amaro partially blames the State of California for continuing to keep Disneyland closed, despite lobbying from local entertainment groups.

"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," D'Amaro's statement begins.

It adds, "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."

Earlier this month, Disneyland was one of a handful of California-based amusement parks to officially launch a public campaign trying to convince California Governor Gavin Newsom to allow the parks to reopen. At the time, Disneyland joined Universal Studios, Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland, California, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, California's Great America, and the California Attractions and Parks Association in a joint statement suggesting Newsom and his administration has been unwilling to assist in planning a reopening of parks across the state.