Executives of numerous California theme parks met today to discuss California’s recent reopening guidelines. During the press conference, they were asked by members of the press about the further economic fallout from the government’s decision — especially considering that Disney just issued layoffs for 28,000 employees.
“It’s the thing that is the most disturbing to me,” said Universal Studios Hollywood President and COO Karen Irwin. “Generally we have 8,000 employees in our park throughout the year, between 7 and 8 thousand, and today we have about 1,000 we’re employing… They’re amazing people, they’ve been with us a long time…we have a lot of really long-time, full-time employees, some of them — a lot of them have been with us more than 20 years.”
She continued, “While I applaud and I love our attractions that we spend so much money on and I think they’re amazing, what we really provide to people is [our employees].”
“Our motivations are very much focused on our employees that work for us,” said Disneyland President Ken Potrock. “Those CMs that are suffering the most. All of us are getting notes and phone calls on almost an hourly basis asking please stand up for us we want to come back to work. All of us are getting notes and phone calls and emails on an almost hourly basis…‘please stand up for us. This doesn’t feel right. We want to come back to work.’ Our unions are advocating that they’re ready to come back to work, they feel safe to come back to work, and they are initiating their own campaigns.”
Potrock shared, “Whether there are capacity constraints, what the capacity constraints are, our intention is to bring people back to work, to get our economy going again… it’s a very simple objective.”
Along with the thousands already laid off by Disney, one analyst reported that Disneyland alone has lost $2 billion due to closure and Southern California overall has lost $5 billion.
Only time will tell how long Disney, Universal, and all of California’s other theme parks must remain closed and what the economic result will be.