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26 Nov, 2020 12:18

Happiest place on Earth? Disney axes 32,000 jobs as Covid-19 pandemic leaves theme parks empty

Happiest place on Earth? Disney axes 32,000 jobs as Covid-19 pandemic leaves theme parks empty

The Walt Disney Company said it is laying off more than 30,000 employees, mostly at its theme parks, as the coronavirus lockdown renders the very existence of resorts and parks absolutely pointless.

According to the company’s filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the layoff of 32,000 workers, which is 4,000 more than Disney had earlier announced, will happen in the first half of its fiscal year which began in October.

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Earlier this month, Disney announced plans for additional redundancies from Disneyland in Southern California amid growing uncertainty over future developments in the entertainment sector. US regulators haven’t revealed whether theme parks will be permitted to open in the near future.

The parks run by the company in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo remain open, while all 12 parks in North America were closed between March and May. Disneyland in Florida and Disneyland Paris were reopened earlier this year, but the latter closed again late last month after the French authorities imposed a new lockdown due to a second wave of coronavirus infections.

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The company earlier reported that the pandemic wiped out $7.4 billion in operating income during the fiscal year, with almost all of it – $6.9 billion – coming from the theme parks and experiences division.

Event and entertainment industries were among the first severely hit by the pandemic, along with the tourism and hospitality sectors, with businesses seeing up to an 80-percent decline in revenues, which was reflected in the job losses.

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