As the COVID-19 lockdowns continue to cripple the theme park industry, Disney will be laying off 32,000 of its employees.
“In an SEC filing published Wednesday, the company revealed that thousands of employees will have their jobs terminated in the first half of fiscal 2021,” reported CNBC. “The majority of these layoffs will be from its parks, experiences and products division and include the 28,000 workers that the company previously announced in September.”
The announcement comes after 37,000 employees were placed on furlough in early October.
“As of Oct. 3, Disney employed around 203,000 people, with its global workforce comprised of around 80% full-time workers and 20% part time employees,” continued the report. “Of its total workforce, around 155,000 employees work as part of the parks, experiences and products segment.”
This past October, as the state of California continued pushing its lockdown measures through the summer and fall, Ken Potrock, president of Disneyland Resorts, lamented that the closures were in spite of the fact the company demonstrated that reopening could be done safely and reasonably.
“We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world,” he said in a statement at the time. “Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities.”
“Together with our labor unions we want to get people back to work, but these State guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands more people out of work, leading to the inevitable closure of small family-owned businesses, and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community,” he added.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health Secretary, said that theme parks were divided into two categories: smaller, local parks that attract fewer than 15,000 visitors, and larger parks like Disneyland and others. As The Daily Wire reported, smaller parks were given the green light to open “once their county enters the third tier of California’s four-tier designation system (i.e., only 1-3.9 new cases per day per 100,000 residents, and no higher than a 4.9% coronavirus test positivity rate).”
Since Disneyland can host up to 85,000 people, the theme park could not reopen until Orange County was placed on the lowest-risk level tier. Dr. Mark Ghaly said at the time that state officials could not possibly predict when Orange County would enter the tier low enough for it to reopen.
“It will require a lot of work; it will require a lot of vigilance. It will require us to do testing, contact tracing, and support isolation in serious and real ways throughout our communities to make sure that no part of our population is lagging or not, sort of, enjoying those reduced transmissions, but we believe it’s possible, and San Francisco is a great case in point,” said Dr. Ghaly.
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