Disney to lay off 32,000 workers in 2021

Disney's theme parks outside the US, including Hong Kong, have reopened with strict measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus [File: Tyrone Siu/Reuters]
Disney’s theme parks outside the US, including Hong Kong, have reopened with strict measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Walt Disney Co says it plans to lay off 32,000 workers, primarily at it’s theme parks, an increase from the 28,000 it announced in September as the company struggles with limited customers due to the coronavirus pandemic, the layoffs will be in the first half of 2021, the company said in a filing late on Wednesday with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Disney did not respond to a request for comment by the Reuters news agency as to whether the 28,000 layoffs announced earlier were included in the latest figure, but a spokesperson for the company confirmed to Variety magazine that the figure includes the previously announced number, earlier this month, Disney said it was furloughing additional workers from its theme park in Southern California due to uncertainty over when the state would allow parks to reopen. Disney’s theme parks in Florida and those outside the US reopened earlier this year with strict distancing, testing and mask use, the parks have not seen any significant outbreaks of the coronavirus. Disneyland Paris was forced to close again late last month when France imposed a new lockdown to fight a second wave of the coronavirus cases.

The company’s theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo remain open, the number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits increased further last week, suggesting that an explosion in new COVID-19 infections and business restrictions were boosting layoffs and undermining the labour market recovery. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 778,000 for the week ended November 21, the Department of Labor said, that was the second straight weekly increase in claims and exceeded economists’ expectations for 730,000 applications in a Reuters poll.

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