Disney announced today that it’ll be laying off 28,000 employees from its Parks, Experiences and Products division, which includes the company’s theme parks, resorts and cruise lines. Although its Florida and international theme parks have all reopened after their temporary COVID closures, the two parks and three hotels at Disneyland Resort in California remain closed due to the coronavirus, and Disney Cruise Lines isn’t running any cruises until at least December, 2020. (Although that date seems really optimistic right now.) Of the 28,000 employees who will be laid off, and who have been furloughed since the spring, 67% of them were part-time workers.
In a statement on Disney’s website, Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of the Parks, Experiences, and Products division, calls out California’s coronavirus restrictions and lack of guidance on how to reopen for making Disney’s situation worse.
Here’s D’Amaro’s statement:
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 pandemic has obviously hit Disney hard. The parks division, which accounted for 37% of the company’s total revenue in 2019 (according to CNBC), has seen its revenues drop 85% year-to-year. The parks that have reopened have all done so with greatly reduced capacity, and the Walt Disney World Resort still hasn’t reopened in full, with multiple hotels currently closed. This year’s closures have been the longest the parks have ever seen by a significant degree. With movie theaters still largely closed or sparsely attended, the company has also lost out on its theatrical revenue, pushing its major 2020 releases either to Disney+ or back to 2021. And with no end to the pandemic in sight, the company’s struggles shouldn’t end any time soon.