Citing the state of California's continued reluctance to reopen its economy due to COVID-19 concerns, Disney Parks announced that it is being forced to lay off 28,000 employees across its theme parks, experiences, and consumer products division.
Josh D'Amaro, head of Disney Parks, made the announcement in a memo sent to employees Tuesday. According to the statement, 67% of those 28,000 laid off workers are part-time employees.
"For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company," D'Amaro wrote. "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 able to successfully reopen its theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan, and Hong Kong, but both California Adventure and Disneyland are shut down due to restrictions that are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom's four-tier reopening plan. Disney has been attempting to persuade California lawmakers that a limited capacity reopening would be feasible in the state.
D'Amaro expressed the company's frustrations with Golden State officials.
"[Financial struggles are] exacerbated in California by the State's unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen," the parks chairman wrote.
In the third quarter of 2020, Disney reported a staggering loss of $3.5 billion due primarily to the closures of its parks.