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

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

ORLANDO, Fla. — Squeezed by limits on attendance at its theme parks and other restrictions due to the pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it planned to lay off 28,000 workers in its parks division in California and Florida.

Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers but they ranged from salaried employees to hourly workers, Disney officials said.

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.

In a letter to employees, Josh DÁmaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experience and Product, said California’s “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen” exacerbated the situation for the company.

DÁmaro said his management team had worked hard to try to avoid layoffs. They had cut expenses, suspended projects and modified operations but it wasn’t enough given limits on the number of people allowed into the park because of social distancing restrictions and other pandemic-related measures, he said.

“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,” he said.

California’s health secretary on Tuesday said the state was close to working out a way to have the theme parks reopen in a responsible way.

“We know that a number of Californians are eager and wondering when that is coming, and we’re working with those industries to put out something that’s thoughtful, allows us to maintain the rest of our framework in a strong way, and really following those principles of slow and stringent to ensure those large activities are done responsibly,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services.

Disney officials said the company would provide severance packages for the employees, where appropriate, and also offer other services to help workers with job placement.

Officials with the union that represents the actors who play Disney characters at the theme parks said they were having conversations with Disney officials about how they would be impacted, according to Actors’ Equity Association.

Officials with the Service Trades Council Union, which represents 43,000 workers at Disney World in Florida, said they were having similar conversations.

“We were disappointed to learn that the Covid-19 crisis has led Disney to make the decision to layoff Cast Members,” the coalition of six unions said in a statement.

About 950 workers from Unite Here Local 11 in California will be laid off starting Nov. 1, union leaders said.

Disney officials didn’t offer a breakdown of the layoffs between the Florida and California operations. Walt Disney World in Florida has around 77,000 employees, while the Disneyland Resort in California has more than 30,000 workers.

With its parks closed due to the pandemic in April, Disney furloughed up to 43,000 workers while still paying for their health insurance at its Florida resort. It brought many of them back after it reopened in July. Furloughed workers in California also received health benefits.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, a Democrat from Orlando, said the layoffs showed the need for more coronavirus-related relief from Congress.

“These layoffs show yet again how desperately that assistance is needed by American households and businesses,” Demings said.

___

Associated Press writers Adam Beam in Sacramento, California, and Amy Taxin in Orange County, California, contributed to this report.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP

Mike Schneider, The Associated Press

Disney

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House re-opened earlier this month. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House re-opens

The Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House was closed for months due… Continue reading

Guy Pelletier, vice-president of the Red Deer region for Melcor Developments. (Contributed photo).
Melcor has to redesign new neighbourhood after Molly Banister decision

City council disagreed with administration’s recommendation to scrap road plans

About $135,000 is available in grants for central Alberta organizations that are empowering women, girls and supporting gender-diverse people through their mission, activities or partnerships. Contributed photo
$135K in funding available in central Alberta for charities advancing gender equality

The Red Deer & District Community Foundation is providing $135,000 to local… Continue reading

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

After an epic seven game series in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League, the Sylvan Lake Wranglers and Red Deer Vipers will get the 2020-21 season started with a four-game mini-series. Game 1 will be played Friday night in Sylvan Lake. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Wranglers, Vipers set to tangle in HJHL season opener

Playoff hockey in October? Not exactly, but when the Red Deer Vipers… Continue reading

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

Email letters to editor@interior-news.com
The problem isn’t dispatching, it’s a shortage of ambulances

Having worked in EMS for more than 43 years, and having lobbied… Continue reading

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

March 14, 2019 - Head shot of Toronto Star columnist Heather Scoffield.    DAVE CHAN FOR THE TORONTO STAR
Opinion: Canada is missing a recovery plan

The glitches should have been a sign of what was to come.… Continue reading

A recent Lock it or Lose it campaign at Parkland Mall found only 35 per cent of drivers took action to make their vehicles less tempting to criminals. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Michael Dawe: Parkland Mall transformed region’s retail landscape

Fifty years ago, on Nov. 3, 1970, there was a major boost… Continue reading

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Fitting finale: Dodgers win title, Turner tests positive

Turner returns to the diamond about an hour after the game

Most Read