Disney to lay off 28,000 employees at its parks in California, Florida

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A Disney cast member welcomes guests to Magic Kingdom Park, July 11, 2020, at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on the first day of the theme park’s phased reopening. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

ORLANDO, Fla. (NEXSTAR) — Squeezed by limits on attendance at its theme parks and other restrictions due to the pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it will lay off 28,000 workers in its “Parks, Experiences and Products” division in California and Florida.

According to Disney, 67-percent of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers but they ranged from salaried employees to nonunion hourly workers.

“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,” Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro said in a statement.

D’Amaro said the situation was “exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.”

D’Amaro said the layoffs were the “only feasible option” 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.”

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen as the company awaits guidance from the state of California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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