Employees who work for Disney parks in Florida and California got some grim news this week when they learned from a memo that their employer (The Walt Disney Co.) was planning to lay off 28,000 people.
This was attributed to the substantial COVID-19-induced attendance losses experienced by those tourist attractions, which is perhaps something you saw coming if you've kept up with the constant stream of bad news that has hit Disney's parks (and really the entire live entertainment industry).
Still, not good.
The Associated Press reports that part-time employees will make up two-thirds of the layoffs, but also that salaried and hourly workers would be included.
It was back in March that Disney's parks shut down as a result of the pandemic, though the Florida attraction (Disney World) opened back up in July, California's Disneyland and California Adventure both remain shut as the company continues to wait on the state to tell them what to do.
As part of the letter mentioned above, Disney's chairman of Disney Parks, Experience and Product, Josh DÁmaro, said that California's "unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen" worsened the company's current situation.
DÁmaro further said that management had tried to stave off layoffs via cost-cutting measures, but that limits on the numbers of people who could come into the parks—in addition to social distancing guidelines and other actions intended to mitigate COVID's spread—were too much for the company to overcome.
“As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy,” he added. “For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.”
Officials for Disney say that severance packages will be given to employees (with the caveat being that this will only be for some of those laid off) and that there will be an offer to help workers get other jobs.
Disney World in Florida has about 77,000 employees, while the Resort in California has 30,000+.
CNBC adds that Disney's "parks, experiences and consumer products" make up a massive chunk of its business, accounting for roughly 37 percent of the company's nearly $70 billion total revenue.
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