Disney is laying off 28,000 people in the United States as the pandemic hammers its parks and resorts business.
The parks and resorts division has more than 100,000 US employees.
The layoffs will affect Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products unit. The company said 67% of the laid-off employees will be part-time workers.
As the pandemic hit earlier this year, Disney’s theme parks shut down globally, dealing a huge blow to the company’s bottom line. The company’s profit dropped a massive 91% during the first quarter of 2020.
Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, said the staffing cuts were necessary because of the ‘prolonged impact’ of coronavirus on business. That included ‘limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic.’
“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,” D’Amaro said in a statement. “We look forward to providing opportunities where we can for them to return.”
D’Amaro added that Disney’s employees have always been key to their success, playing a valued and important role in delivering a world-class experience.
The Disney chairman also partially blamed the state of California for its ‘unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.’ The company’s flagship resorts in California, have been closed since March.
Last July 17, Disney initially planned to reopen the resort located in Anaheim, California, but that reopening was delayed indefinitely.
Disney World, the company’s resort in Florida, shut its doors in March as well, but it went through a reopening phase for its parks in July. The resort reopened with safety protocols and health measures that included reduced capacity at its parks and requiring all employees and guests to wear protective masks.
In April, the company notified its people that because of coronavirus it would furlough employees ‘whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time’ starting on April 19.
“As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy,” D’Amaro wrote in a memo to employees.
“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.
Disney has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in a lot of ways, but its theme parks and resort business has taken the biggest hit of all.