Walt Disney is to lay off 28,000 US staff in its theme parks division as its resorts struggle with limited attendance and the continued closure of Disneyland in California due to the coronavirus pandemic.
About two thirds of the affected employees are part-time workers, the company said in a statement.
Disney shut its theme parks around the world when the coronavirus began spreading in the spring. All but Disneyland gradually reopened, though the company was forced to limit the number of visitors to allow for physical distancing.
“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,” Josh D’Amaro, chairman of the parks division, said yesterday.
He said that the situation was “exacerbated in California by the state’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen”.
The company had furloughed 100,000 employees worldwide, many in the theme parks division, at the height of the lockdowns.