Disney to cut 28,000 US employees due to coronavirus

Disney said Tuesday it will cut 28,000 jobs from its US theme parks division, singling out California restrictions that have prevented the giant Disneyland resort from reopening due to the coronavirus crisis.

The cuts were needed in light of social distancing requirements and depressed demand caused by the pandemic, along with uncertainty on when the parks will recover, the Mouse House said in a press release.

“(A)s 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” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

About two-thirds of the affected employees are part-time staff.

Drawing millions of tourists each year, Disneyland in Anaheim near Los Angeles is the world’s second-most visited theme park, after the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

But unlike the Disney theme parks in Florida, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Paris, the Anaheim resort has so far been unable to reopen due to the Golden State’s Covid restrictions.

Uncertainty had been “exacerbated in California by the state’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen,” D’Amaro said.

Disneyland had originally been scheduled to reopen in July, but that was called off as local officials rolled back reopenings due to another coronavirus surge.

California’s 805,000 confirmed cases are now the most of any US state. (AFP | Andrew MARSZAL)

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