With Disneyland and California Adventure still shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, Disney announced Monday that an undisclosed number of employees at the Anaheim resort will be furloughed.
Disneyland President Ken Potrock broke the news Monday in a letter to workers, saying the furloughs will affect “executive, salaried and hourly cast.”
“As you know, we’ve already taken the heart-wrenching action of laying off thousands of our cast on both coasts,” he wrote in the memo, copies of which were obtained by various media outlets. “We expected to be able to open our parks in Anaheim, given our proven ability to operate with responsible health and safety protocols as we have in all of our other theme parks around the world, but unfortunately, this has not been the case.”
It was unclear how many people would be affected by the furloughs.
“I’m not surprised by it,” said Mike Lyster, a spokesman for the city of Anaheim. “We had some idea it was coming, particularly after not getting guidance in the near term (from the state) for them to reopen the parks.”
The move “at least keeps (the employees) on the books for the near term,” Lyster said. “It keeps them on the books as long as they potentially can, which means they’ll have access to healthcare.”
Orange County CEO Frank Kim said county officials are concerned about local employees losing access to healthcare insurance.
“Trying to get them connected to alternate health care is not as easy as when they have private insurance” when it comes to treating patients and testing for COVID-19, Kim said.
In September, Disney announced the layoffs of 28,000 workers at Disneyland and Disney World in Florida due to the pandemic-mandated park closures.
Disneyland officials had been hoping to reopen soon, following safety protocols it has implemented at its other theme parks around the world that have started welcoming guests again.
The state, however, has refused to budge on strict reopening guidelines that will keep major theme parks closed until the counties in which they are located reach the most lenient level of California’s four-tier coronavirus-monitoring roadmap. That restriction means the Disneyland Resort is likely to remain closed until at least early next year, with Orange County struggling to advance in the state’s tier system.
A coalition of Southern California mayors recently sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a letter asking him to consider easing the theme park requirements, but there has been no movement from the state.
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