Media Reports: Disney to Lay off 28,000 Employees at Theme Parks in California, Florida

Disney World (pictured) in Orlando, Fla., reopened in July with limited capacity. Disneyland in Anaheim remains closed under California guidelines.

BURBANK, CALIF. — The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) will lay off 28,000 employees who were previously furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple media reports. Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., both closed in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Disney’s chief financial officer Christine McCarthy said in May that for every two weeks the parks were closed, the company lost $500 million. Disney World reopened in July with limited capacity, but Disneyland remains closed under California guidelines. A timeline for reopening has not been established.

Disney chairman Josh D’Amaro sent a letter to employees Tuesday, Sept. 29 notifying workers of the impending layoffs. The letter does not disclose how many layoffs the company expects to make, but he says in the letter that layoffs will affect executive, salary and hourly roles.

“Earlier this year, in response to the pandemic, we were forced to close our businesses around the world. Few of us could have imagined how significantly the pandemic would impact us — both at work and in our daily lives,” D’Amaro said in the letter. “We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived, and that we would recover quickly and return to normal. Seven months later, we find that has not been the case.”

Disney’s stock price closed Tuesday at $125.40 per share, down from $130.32 per share Sept. 30, 2019. Disney’s stock price has been rebounding since March 23, when it closed at its 52-week low of $85.76 per share.

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