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Disney to lay off 28,000 cast members as pandemic continues to hit theme park industry

The cuts come amid ongoing COVID-19 impacts on park business and the continued closure of Disney's parks in California.

Tens of thousands of Disney Parks employees will lose their jobs, the company announced Tuesday.

Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, released a statement saying about 28,000 domestic employees will be affected by the cuts. Of those, 67 percent are part-time cast members.

"We are talking with impacted employees as well as to the unions on next steps for union-represented Cast Members," D'Amaro wrote.

The layoffs come amid ongoing COVID-19 impacts on the theme park industry and the continued closure of Disney's parks in California. 

D'Amaro wrote that "the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic" has been "exacerbated in California by the State's unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen."

Disney Parks did not specify the number of job cuts by theme park locations. 

"Over the past several months, we've been forced to make a number of necessary adjustments to our business, and as difficult as this decision is today, we believe that the steps we are taking will enable us to emerge a more effective and efficient operation when we return to normal," D'Amaro wrote.

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Disney's other theme parks in Florida, Japan, Hong Kong and Shanghai have all reopened with limited capacity and new health and safety changes because of the pandemic. California's Disneyland and California Adventure, however, have remained closed because of decisions at the state level.

At the beginning of August, Disney said its parks took a $3.5 billion hit because of coronavirus closures. During an earnings call, executives said revenue for Parks, Experiences and Products decreased 85 percent in the quarter.

As of Sept. 8, Disney World parks have cut back on operating hours because of impacts from the pandemic as well as normal cutbacks at the end of the summer tourist season. Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom all close an hour earlier and Epcot closes two hours earlier.

Disney started furloughing some cast members right after domestic parks shuttered because of the pandemic, affecting more than 43,000 employees.

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