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Disney to fire about 28,000 employees in the parks because of the impact of the coronavirus

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co. DIS.N said Tuesday it would cut about 28,000 staff, mostly at U.S. theme parks, where the presence has been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic, especially in California, where Disneyland remains closed.

About two-thirds of the laid off employees will be part-time, the company said in a statement.

Disney closed its theme parks around the world when the new coronavirus began spreading this year. All but Disneyland ̵

1; nicknamed the Happiest Place on Earth – were reopened, although the company was forced to limit the number of visitors to allow physical distance.

“We have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing the workforce in our Parks, Experiences and Products segments at all levels,” Josh D’Amaro, chairman of the Parks Unit, said in a statement.

He cited the limited capacity of the parks and uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic, which he said were “exacerbated in California by the state’s reluctance to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.”

In a letter to officials, D’Amaro called the move “heartbreaking.” He said management has tried to avoid cuts by cutting costs, halting projects and streamlining operations. The company continues to pay health benefits for workers who have been scared since April.

“However, we simply cannot remain responsible with full staff while working with such limited capacity,” D’Amaro said.

Walt Disney World in Florida hired 77,000 full-time and part-time employees before the pandemic, while Disneyland in California hired 32,000. Disney did not disclose how many other American employees work in the park unit, which includes consumer products, cruise lines and more business.

Last week, Disney called on California authorities to issue guidelines to allow Disneyland to welcome visitors again.

On Tuesday, Dr. Mark Galli, California’s health secretary, said the state had adopted a science-based approach to reopening that “minimizes the health and economic risks that would be caused by repeated opening and closing.”

Report by Lisa Richwine; Edited by David Gregorio and Stephen Coates

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