ANAHEIM (CBSLA) — With Disneyland and California Adventure closed for more than six months, Disney will reportedly lay off 28,000 employees, most of whom are part-time employees.
Disney’s theme parks in Florida and beyond the U.S. have been able to reopen with limited capacity since the coronavirus pandemic, but its Anaheim properties remain closed as California continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
A letter from Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney’s parks, experiences and products division, said California’s continued “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen” exacerbated the impact of the pandemic on Disney’s parks. Approximately 28,000 employees in California and Florida will be laid off, about 67% of which are part-time, D’Amaro’s letter said.
“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,” D’Amaro said in his letter.
Disneyland and California Adventure shut down in March, along with most of the state, as COVID-19 spread throughout the state. Downtown Disney reopened in July, but the parks remain closed even as Disney executives urged the state to allow them to reopen.
Since the park shut down, the Anaheim resort along the Harbor Boulevard corridor is a ghost town. Barricades block hotel entrances. Paper covers the windows at shops across the street from Disneyland’s entrance.
“About half of our hotels around the theme parks are closed,” said Anaheim city spokesman Mike Lyster. “They can actually be open under California guidelines but they’re not because it’s not economically viable for them to be open without the visitors that the theme park and convention center bring to our city.”
Last month, Disney reported a sharp, 42% drop in revenue partly due to the continued closure of its parks.
Disney cast members said they plan to caravan to the state capitol to ask Gov. Newsom if he would sign an assembly bill that would give longterm Disney workers the chance to get their jobs back when the pandemic ends.