Walt Disney Co said on Monday it was furloughing additional workers from its Disneyland theme park in Southern California, because it still does not know when the state will allow it to reopen because of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of furloughs, which include executive, salaried and hourly workers, was not known. It comes on top of the 28,000 employees who were laid off in September, mostly across Disney's U.S. theme parks, in California and Florida.
The furloughs was announced in a memo to staff from Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock that was seen by Reuters. Disneyland, located in Anaheim, has been closed since mid-March. California health authorities in October dashed hopes of the reopening of large theme parks anytime soon, saying that cannot happen until a county's COVID-19 risk level falls to the lowest of the state's four tiers regarding coronavirus spread and infections.
"The recently released state guidelines put us in limbo regarding a reopening timeline in the foreseeable future," Potrock's memo said. As a result, Disney was "in the untenable situation of having to institute additional furloughs for our executive, salaried and hourly cast," he said.
The furloughed employees will be able to maintain health insurance, and Potrock said he hoped to get them back to work once Disneyland eventually reopens. Disney's theme parks in Florida and those outside the U.S. reopened earlier this year without seeing new major coronavirus outbreaks but with strict social distancing, testing and mask use.
Disneyland Paris was forced to close again late last month when France imposed a new lockdown to fight a second wave of coronavirus cases. The company's theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo remain open.