Disney is letting 28,000 staff go at its theme parks - here’s why

By Ethan Shone
Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 1:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th September 2020, 1:43 pm
Disney is letting 28,000 staff go at its theme parks - here’s why (Photo: Shutterstock)

In the latest sign of the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus crisis on jobs and the economy, Disney has announced today (30 September) that it will lay off 28,000 employees.

The majority of the jobs being cut are in the company’s US theme parks. The layoffs will apply to “domestic employees”, of which around two thirds are part-time workers.

Why are jobs being cut?

The jobs will be cut as a result of major losses seen by the company’s theme parks due to the pandemic, as well as the uncertainty that remains over when they will be able to get back to normal.

In a statement, the chairman of Disney’s parks unit, Josh D’Amaro, said, "We have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels.”

Are Disney theme parks shut down?

While all of the company’s parks were shut down earlier this year at the outbreak of the pandemic, the majority have now reopened, leaving only the California location closed.

Mr D’Amaro said the problems faced by the company have been “exacerbated in California by the state's unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.”

He also said that the company is trying to convince the state to allow the park to reopen.

But those theme parks which have been able to reopen are still suffering losses due to the reduced visitor capacity necessitated by the pandemic.

In the three months leading up to 27 June, Disney lost $4.7 billion (around £3.6 billion), and saw revenues from the Parks, Experiences and Products division of the company fall by 85 per cent, compared with the same period last year.