Business Essentials for Professionals


Coronavirus Hit: 28,000 Parks Unit Employees To Be Laid Off By Disney

Coronavirus Hit: 28,000 Parks Unit Employees To Be Laid Off By Disney
About 28,000 employees in Disney’s theme parks will be laid off, said Walt Disney Co. Most of the layoffs will happen in the theme parks in the United States where the novel coronavirus pandemic has smashed attendance – particularly in the parks of the company in California where the company has still kept the park closed.
The company said in a statement that part time workers will make up about two-thirds of the laid-off employees.
Earlier this year, as the novel coronavirus pandemic, that originated in China and was allegedly allowed by Chinese authorities to spread throughout the world, started to wreck havoc in countries worldwide, Disney was forced to close down its theme parks worldwide.
But with the easing of restrictions imposed by various governments to prevent the spread of the pandemic, the company opened up all of its theme parks except Disneyland - nicknamed the Happiest Place on Earth. The company has however been forced to limit the number of visitors in order to maintain physical distancing norms still required for keep[ing people safe from the pandemic.
"We have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels," Josh D'Amaro, chairman of the parks unit, said in a statement.
Citing the limited capacity of the parks, he also blamed the uncertainty about the length of time the pandemic will continue which was "exacerbated in California by the state's unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen."
The decision of the company to lay off employees was described as "heartbreaking" by D'Amaro in a letter to employees. Despite the company’s management implementing a number of measures to avoid a lay off which included reducing costs of operations, suspending projects and streamlining operations, the company was forced to take this decision, he said. Payments for health benefits for furloughed workers had been paid by the company since April.
"However, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity," D'Amaro said.
Prior to he pandemic hitting it, there were 77,000 full- and part-time workers employed by the company at Walt Disney World in Florida while 32,000 people were employed at Disneyland in California. No details of how many other US employees work in the parks unit which include employees in consumer products, cruise lines and other businesses was provided by the company.
An urgent call to the California officials to issue guidelines that would allow Disneyland to allow visitors again to its theme park there was made by Disney last week.
The state had taken a science-based approach to reopening that aimed to "minimize the health and economic risks that would be caused by opening and shutting repeatedly”, Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's health secretary, said on Tuesday.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc