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Disney to Lay Off 28,000 Employees as COVID-19 Continues to Impact its Businesses

Chairman Josh D’Amaro of Parks, Experiences and Products at Walt Disney Co. announced Tuesday evening that approximately 28,000 employees known as “cast members” will be laid off across the company’s Parks, Experiences and Products segment due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This announcement was made shortly after the state of California signaled that Disneyland Resort would likely have to remain closed for the foreseeable future due to Covid-19 concerns.  

The layoffs are the latest example of the impact and ongoing tension between governments health measure response and businesses struggling to make ends meet under operational restrictions.

In August Disney reported its earnings for its third quarter for fiscal 2020 which painted a picture of significant reduction in earnings.  The impact of COVID-19 and measures to prevent its spread has affecting the segments of the company in a number of ways the quarterly report revealed.  The most significant is at Parks, Experiences and Products where Disney closed its  theme parks and retail stores which have adverse impact on their merchandise licensing business. 

The company stated further in Tuesday’s announcement that laid off workers have been on furlough since April in which they collect health benefits but not salary. Sixty-seven percent of them are part-time employees, Disney stated; adding that the company will soon enter discussions with unions about the way forward for members. 

In making the announcement about the layoffs, Disney also said that the impact of the pandemic has been “exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.”

The company said it has lost $4.72 billion in the three months ended June 27.  This is Disney’s first quarterly lost in nearly two decades.  A profit of $1.43 billion was generated in the previous year during the same period.

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