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Disney parks to lay off 28,000 workers in California, Florida

Josh Rivera, USA TODAY
·2 mins read

The coronavirus pandemic's economic effects have reached the workers of the most magical place in the world.

Disney's park division is laying off 28,000 employees in California and Florida in the wake of the pandemic.

Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers but they ranged from salaried employees to nonunion hourly workers, Disney officials said.

In a letter to employees, Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experience and Product, said his management team had worked hard to try to avoid layoffs. They had cut expenses, suspended projects and modified operations but it wasn’t enough given limits on the number of people allowed into the park because of social distancing restrictions and other pandemic-related measures, he said.

Guests wear masks as required to attend the official reopening day of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Saturday, July 11, 2020. Disney reopened two Florida parks, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, Saturday, with limited capacity and safety protocols in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Guests wear masks as required to attend the official reopening day of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Saturday, July 11, 2020. Disney reopened two Florida parks, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, Saturday, with limited capacity and safety protocols in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have 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,” he said.

USA TODAY reached out to Disney for comment.

The California Attractions and Parks Association, which represents popular theme parks, including Disneyland and Universal Studios, called on California Gov. Gavin Newsom two weeks ago to implement COVID-19 regulations to allow the parks to get back to business.

Disneyland was supposed to reopen on July 17, but that was postponed as coronavirus cases surged in California during the first half of the summer.

Disney’s other theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen to limited capacity, with Disney World even adding extra open hours recently.

Contributing: Rasha Ali, USA TODAY and The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus effect: Disney to lay off 28,000 in California, Florida