ANAHEIM, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — There’s been no magic in the air at Disneyland for over seven months now. With no reopening likely in the near future, Disney is laying off thousands of employees who were furloughed.
That includes about 2,800 food service workers with Workers United Local 50.
“A little over a third of our membership is going to be laid off, beginning November 1st. It’s a big hit. It’s a big hit to a lot of people,” Chris Duarte with Workers United Local 50 said.
Disneyland remains closed since COVID-19 cases have Orange County stuck in a restrictive California tier.
It’s the only Disney property in the world that’s remained closed since the pandemic began.
The impact on the City of Anaheim is unmistakable. Layoffs at Disney directly affect surrounding businesses.
“Now with no road map ahead of us to get the parks open in the near term, many hotels will have to take more decision action and unfortunately, that will mean more layoffs in our city,” said Mike Lyster, communications chief for the City of Anaheim.
And that’s even though local hotels can operate, but there is no demand with Disneyland closed.
A Subway store near the main entrance starkly reflects the sudden stop to tourism.
Owner Rick Cerney said this was the top-performing franchise in Orange County when the park shutdown. Business is down by 86% and the store has gone from first to worst.
He believes the state’s reopening threshold is unreasonable and that families need theme parks as a pandemic outlet.
“They need to get out, they need to get to Disneyland, they need a break,” Cerney said. “The parents need a break, the kids need a break. And that’s what they provide, a break. And I know that they can do that safely.”
Disney recently showcased new plexiglass shields now in place at its local parks for the safety of cast members and guests, but the state has not budged in its restrictions on major theme parks.
Small businesses up and down the street, many of them we know tragically, they will not survive this, and this is somebody’s life investment,” Lyster said.
Union workers are hopeful a Disney reopening will happen sooner than the projection of late 2021.