Citing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a “changing environment,” Disney announced Wednesday that it will lay off 32,000 employees in the first half of 2021, culled primarily from the company’s theme parks division. Disney has also confirmed that approximately 37,000 employees were furloughed as of Oct. 3.
The projected layoffs are an update of layoffs announced in September, when Disney said it would cut 28,000 jobs in its theme parks division.
“Due to the current climate, including COVID-19 impacts, and changing environment in which we are operating, the Company has generated efficiencies in its staffing, including limiting hiring to critical business roles, furloughs and reductions-in-force. As part of these actions, the employment of approximately 32,000 employees primarily at Parks, Experiences and Products will terminate in the first half of fiscal 2021,” Disney said in a new SEC filing Wednesday. “Additionally, as of October 3, 2020, approximately 37,000 employees who are not scheduled for employment termination were on furlough as a result of COVID-19’s impact on our businesses.”
When announcing the layoffs in September, Disney blamed the move on COVID-19 safety measures enacted by the state of California which have prohibited the reopening of Disneyland and California Adventure among other locations.
COVID-19 transmission rates have risen sharply over the last several months and on Wednesday, California broke its single-day record for new cases reported with 18,350. Wednesday was also the 33rd say in a row that the United States has set new COVID-19 case records; all total more than 260,000 people have died and more than 12 million people have been infected.
The theme park division isn’t the only part of the company to take a hit amid the pandemic. On Nov. 5 at least 50 people from Searchlight were let go alongside more than 500 people from ESPN.