Yesterday the Walt Disney Company announced it would need to layoff 28,000 Cast Members due to the negative impact of the coronavirus on their business. This was shocking news that was devastating for Cast Members who have been furloughed for months already.
Today in a report by ClickOrlando, they discuss with local leaders on the economic impact the layoffs will have on the Central Florida area.
Here is a quote from Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond regarding the recent layoff announcement:
“You think about people who are going to have challenges paying the rent, paying the mortgage, paying the other bills keeping their health insurance, and taking care of their family. That’s a huge impact on people,”
Dr. Sean Snaith with UCF’s Institute of Economic Forecasting also weighs in on the situation:
“They won’t be using childcare, they may not be getting their hair styled frequently, they may not be going out to eat on the weekends,”
“This is going to be a sector who — ultimately — their recovery and the pace of recovery will hinge on the science surrounding COVID-19,”
An Ongoing Struggle
In the official statement by Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Josh D’Amaro, he explains the company’s reasons for having to make this difficult decision and layoff so many Cast Members.
D’Amaro’s statement reads:
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, having kept non-working Cast Members on furlough since April, while paying healthcare benefits. Approximately 28,000 domestic employees will be affected, of which about 67% are part-time. We are talking with impacted employees as well as to the unions on next steps for union-represented Cast Members.
The closure of Disneyland being cited as a major reason for the layoffs as the battle between Disneyland and California Government Officials continues over the reopening of the parks. Also cited, the limited capacity of the theme parks that are currently operating. Disney did say they intended to keep the modified capacity in place at their Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, regardless of the state moving into Phase 3.
The tourism industry is certainly one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. We will just have to wait and see what the full impact on the Disney theme parks will be.
Our hearts goes out to the Cast Members and communities that will be adversely impacted by this decision.