Disney to lay off more than 30,000 workers in first half of 2021

James Crump
·2-min read
<p>Disneyland Park </p> (AFP via Getty)

Disneyland Park

(AFP via Getty)

The Walt Disney Company has announced that it will lay off 32,000 employees amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The figure is an increase from the 28,000 previously announced by the company, and primarily includes employees from its theme parks in the US, according to Reuters.

In a SEC filing on Wednesday, Disney wrote: “Due to the current climate, including Covid-19 impacts, and changing environment in which we are operating, the company has generated efficiencies in its staffing, including limiting hiring to critical business roles, furloughs and reductions-in-force.

“As part of these actions, the employment of approximately 32,000 employees primarily at Parks, Experiences and Products will terminate in the first half of fiscal 2021.”

A Disney spokesperson confirmed to Variety that the figure includes the previously announced 28,000 layoffs.

Earlier this month, Disney announced that it was furloughing additional workers from its theme park in Anaheim, California, as coronavirus measures in the state have kept the site closed since March.

California reported 18,350 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, which was a daily record for the state. Since the start of the pandemic, California has recorded more than 1.17 million Covid-19 cases and at least 18,982 deaths.

Disney’s theme parks in Florida reopened in the summer at a limited capacity, but with coronavirus measures that included the use of face coverings, testing and strict social distancing.

Although the state is struggling to contain the virus, Disney’s parks in Florida reopened without seeing any major coronavirus outbreaks.

The company’s theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo remain open, but Disney’s site in Paris closed earlier this month after a second lockdown was imposed in France.

Disney published its fourth quarter earnings report earlier this month, which showed that earnings for the company as a whole were down 23 per cent from 2019, according to Variety.

The company also announced losses of $710m (£531m) because, in addition to its theme parks, Disney has had to halt travel on its cruise ships and limit TV and film productions.

In the SEC filing on Wednesday, Disney said: “Covid-19 impacts could also hasten the erosion of our historical sources of revenue at our Media Networks businesses.”

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 12.7 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 262,266.

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