Disneyland, Disney World to lay off 28,000 employees

VIDEO: As Disney parks begin to reopen, some furloughed cast members still waiting to head back

Some employees at the happiest place on Earth were frowning Tuesday.

The Walt Disney Co. announced it will lay off 28,000 employees at its Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks as the company remains affected by the impact of the coronavirus, the Press-Enterprise reported.

Josh D’Amaro, chairman for Disney Parks, experiences and products, announced the layoffs in a statement and a letter to employees.

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“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 -- exacerbated in California by the state’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen -- 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," D’Amaro said in a statement.

Disney employees have been on furlough since April but have been receiving healthcare benefits, D’Amaro said.

Approximately 67% of the employees affected by the layoffs were part-time employees, CNBC reported. Disney declined to comment on how many people from its parks were laid off, the website reported.

Disneyland has remained closed since mid-March. Walt Disney World, which also closed in March, reopened in mid-July with increased health and safety measures as well as reduced visitor capacity.

“As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy,” D’Amaro wrote in the letter to employees. “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.

“While we don’t know when the pandemic will be behind us, we are confident in our resilience and hope to welcome back cast members and employees when we can.”