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Disney To Lay Off About 32,000 Employees In 2021

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Walt Disney Co. plans to lay off 32,000 workers in the first half of fiscal 2021 as the media and entertainment giant struggles to operate amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said the expected cuts will be primarily at Parks, Experiences and Products.

In addition, as of October 3, about 37,000 employees who are not scheduled for employment termination were on furlough as a result of COVID-19's impact on the businesses.

The company attributed the latest decision to the current climate, including COVID-19 impacts, and changing operating environment. To bring about staffing efficiency, Disney took actions, including limiting hiring to critical business roles, furloughs and reductions-in-force.

In late September, the company had announced its plans to lay off 28,000 theme park employees in U.S., citing the reduced capacity allowed in its parks due to social distancing requirements as well as California's "unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen."

The company then said the action would affect about 67 percent of part-time employees.

Disneyland in California has remained closed since mid-March. The company earlier this month said it was furloughing additional workers from its theme park in Southern California due to uncertainty over the state's decision to reopen parks.

Disney World in Florida, which also closed in March, reopened in mid-July along with those outside the United States, with increased health and safety measures as well as reduced visitor capacity.

In France, recently, the company was forced to close Disneyland Paris again following a new lockdown to fight a second wave of the coronavirus. However, Disney theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo remain open.

Separately, citing the significant success of its streaming service Disney+ as majority are confined to their homes during the pandemic, Disney also said it now plans to launch a general entertainment direct-to-consumer or DTC video streaming offering under the Star brand outside the U.S. in calendar year 2021.

In October, Disney announced reorganizing its media and entertainment businesses aiming to accelerate its DTC strategy.

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