Disney to lay off 32,000 employees as COVID-19 impedes theme parks

The layoffs mostly will occur at parks and in the products divisions, the company said.

Updated: November 26, 2020 - 1:18pm

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As the coronavirus continues to hinder operations at Disney theme parks, the entertainment company plans to lay off 32,000 employees early next year.

The layoffs mostly will occur at parks and in the products divisions, the company said in a Wednesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"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," the company’s filing said.

"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."

This comes in addition to the roughly 37,000 employees who will not be laid off but who have been furloughed as of Oct. 3. Those employees were furloughed "as a result of COVID-19’s impact on our businesses," the filing said.

Disney theme parks throughout the U.S., Asia, and Europe were closed between March and May this year, according to reports. 

The popular Disney World in Orlando, Fla. currently is open, with restrictions including mandatory face masks for employees and customers, and temperature screenings at some sites.

Disney claimed it lost $629 million in the three-month period that ended Oct. 3, according to reports.