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Disney World to lay off 11,000 amid pandemic

The total number of pandemic-related job casualties at the Florida resort is almost 18,000 positions.
Credit: Matt Stroshane, photographer
Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., plan to begin a phased reopening in July, pending approval from local and state authorities. Magic Kingdom Park (pictured) and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are planned to reopen on July 11, 2020, followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15, 2020. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

ORLANDO, Fla — Walt Disney World says it plans to lay off more than 11,000 unionized workers because of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of pandemic-related job casualties at the Florida resort to almost 18,000 positions.

Disney World said in a letter to state and local leaders Thursday that the 11,350 union workers — mostly part-timers — will be laid off at the end of the year. Company officials previously had said that another 6,400 nonunion Disney employees in Florida would lose their jobs.

Earlier this week, 720 Disney World actors and singers were laid off since many of the live entertainment shows at the Florida resort have gone dark, according to Actors’ Equity Association, the labor union representing the performers.

The layoffs are part of a decision by The Walt Disney Co. last month to eliminate 28,000 positions in its parks division in California and Florida because of the pandemic.

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the coronavirus began spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer with restrictions on how many people could be in the parks at any given time and new requirements for social distancing and mask-wearing. The California parks have yet to reopen because of restrictions by the state of California.

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