Disneyland Furloughs More Workers With No Reopen in Sight

California faces new shutdowns with nearly one million coronavirus cases


Disneyland does not have a clear path to reopening yet after nearly eight months of being closed, and the company announced this week that more employees will be furloughed. 

About 10,000 employees, of the 30,000 that worked for the theme park in Anaheim before the pandemic, have now been furloughed, the Los Angeles Times reported. Under current state guidelines, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure could potentially open in summer 2021, according to estimates from county officials. 

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Some of the workers were anticipating that the parks could reopen soon, but California is facing increased coronavirus cases and fears of a winter spike. State guidelines released last month stipulate that conditions will have to significantly improve for an extended period of time before large theme parks can open for a limited capacity.

In a memo announcing the furloughs, Ken Potrock, the resort’s president, told employees that the state’s protocols were keeping their timeline in limbo.

Pressure has been mounting on Gov. Gavin Newsom from both the business community and local politicians. Eight mayors — including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the leaders of Anaheim, San Diego, San Jose and Riverside — signed a letter calling on the state to reopen theme parks sooner than currently planned. They also called for major tourist attractions like Universal Studios and Seaworld to open, among other large theme parks throughout the state. 

“We are concerned that the state’s guidelines would push reopening of large theme parks up to a year out, which would have significant negative impacts on hundreds of thousands of jobs, thousands of small businesses, and billions in operating revenue for our cities,” according to the letter.

Fans, supporters, and furloughed employees have also been protesting outside Disneyland’s entrance, chanting “bring back the magic.” Theme park leadership has been adamant that they should be allowed to open safely, and have been pushing for the state to approve health protocols for large theme parks.

Disneyland drew 18.6 million visitors in 2019. In July, a report on Disneyland and California Adventure by Cowen forecasted a 47 percent decline in 2020, and a 35 percent decline for 2021, and warned the park could lose 38 million attendees in a two-year span.