Disney to layoff 28,000 employees as coronavirus slams theme park business

An employee cleans the grounds behind the closed gates of Disneyland Park on the first day of the closure of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks, in Anaheim, California, on March 14, 2020.

DAVID MCNEW | AFP | Getty Images

Prolonged closures of Disney’s California-based theme parks and limited attendance at its open parks has forced the company to lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products segment.

In a letter sent to employees on Tuesday, Josh D’Amaro, head of parks at Disney, detailed several “difficult decisions” the company has had to make in the wake of the pandemic, including ending its furlough of thousands of employees.

Around 67% of the 28,000 laid off workers were part-time employees, according to D’Amaro. The company declined to comment on how many from its parks specifically were let go.

While Disney’s other theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen to limited capacity, California Adventure and Disneyland have remained shuttered in Anaheim, California.

“As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy,” D’Amaro wrote in the letter obtained by CNBC. “For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. 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.”

 This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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