As theme parks remain closed in California due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disneyland has announced that it is furloughing more employees. According to Variety, the furloughs were announced in a letter to staff sent from Disneyland President Ken Potrock on Monday. Though the exact number of furloughs is unknown, the action will include executives, as well as salaried and hourly employees. Affected employees will be able to maintain their health insurance and other benefits.
The memo read, "After nearly eight months our parks and hotels remain closed, and while we have had some successes -- like the opening of the Downtown Disney District in July, shopping and dining coming soon to Buena Vista Street and today's announcement that we will reopen Disney Vacation Club units -- the recently released state guidelines put us in limbo regarding a reopening timeline in the foreseeable future."
"As you know, we have already taken the heart-wrenching action of laying off thousands of our Cast on both coasts. 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."
As reported by Variety, California theme parks have been urging Governor Gavin Newsom to allow them to reopen since the summer. In September, Disney Parks laid off 28,000 employees and Walt Disney Chairman Bob Iger resigned from California's economic resiliency task force. Newsom released strict guidelines for reopening on October 20, which were criticised by Potrock and other theme park representatives.
Potrock said of the guidelines in a press conference, "We are not getting a solution-oriented discussion. We are getting: Here are the rules and you have to live with it." Variety reported that on November 2, eight California mayors urged Newsom to allow theme parks to reopen in a letter.
"The guidelines put forth by your administration were released within the framework of prioritising public health and safety for guests and employees. This is the right focus. However, economic and public health are not mutually exclusive goals," the letter asserted.