Walt Disney Co. will begin furloughing all non-essential employees at its U.S. operations beginning April 19, according to media reports.
The Burbank entertainment and media giant said in a statement that mandatory orders from government officials responding to the coronavirus outbreak have forced it to shut down most of its businesses.
“Disney employees have received full pay and benefits during this time, and we’ve committed to paying them through April 18,” the company’s statement said. “However, with no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time.”
Disney announced a week ago that it will keep its theme parks in California and Florida closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim and Walt Disney World in Orlando were scheduled to re-open on April 1. Both parks had closed three weeks ago.
In addition, the company scaled back on film and television production, delayed new film releases and suspended its cruise line.
“The furlough process will begin on April 19, and all impacted workers will remain Disney employees through the duration of the furlough period,” the statement said. “They will receive full health-care benefits, plus the cost of employee and company premiums will be paid by Disney.”
The company announced the furloughs Thursday. Shares of Disney (DIS) closed Friday down $3.09, or about 3.2 percent, to $93.88 on the New York Stock Exchange.