Disney to Lay Off 28,000 Cast Members from its Theme Parks in the U.S.

By Kurt Stolz on 29 September 2020
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Walt Disney World

Walt Disney announced it would lay off 28,000 cast members in its Parks, Experiences and Products group amidst the pandemic-induced downturn in the travel and entertainment industries.

The layoffs are limited to Disney cast members, as they are called, in the United States, and the company blamed the reduced capacity allowed in its parks due to social-distancing requirements as well as California’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.

Disney has been paying healthcare benefits to park workers during the shutdown but said it could no longer continue to do so.

“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,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of the theme park unit, in a letter to employees.

Roughly 67% of those affected by the layoffs are part-time workers, the company said.

The move comes within months of the reopening of Walt Disney World in Florida. The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks reopened on July 11, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios reopened on July 15.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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