Walt Disney sheds 28,000 jobs as coronavirus slams its theme-park business

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

New Delhi (NVI): Walt Disney announced it was laying off 28,000 employees from its theme park business in the United States, the latest company to announce huge jobs cuts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The entertainment company blamed limited attendance at the theme parks it has reopened and the continuing closure of others for the “difficult decision”.

About two-thirds of those losing their jobs are part-time employees, the company said.

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic,” Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney’s theme park unit, said in a letter to employees.

Disney’s theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been reopened with limited capacity but both its parks in California remain closed as Orange county, home to Disneyland, struggles to meet local health metrics for reopening.

Disney lost USD 4.72bn in the three months ended on June 27, its first quarterly loss in nearly two decades.

The reopening of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has also proved disappointing as Covid-19 cases surge in the state.

The company had furloughed 100,000 employees worldwide at the height of the lockdowns in the spring. Many were brought back when Walt Disney World reopened this summer.