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Disney stops paying 100,000 workers, saving $500 million a month amid theme park shutdown

The theme parks in the U.S. have been closed for a month as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Credit: AP
In this Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 photo, a statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse is seen in front of the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

This week, Walt Disney Co. will stop paying 100,000 workers to save money amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The number is about half of the company's workforce, according to the Los Angeles Times. And, according to the Financial Times, the furloughing of that many people will save the company up to $500 million a month across its hotels and theme parks.

Disney's theme parks and resorts in the United States and Europe have been closed for more than a month to combat the spread of COVID-19 by preventing mass gatherings of people. 

About a week ago, Disney World in Florida said it was furloughing about 43,000 park employees. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the theme park employs about 77,000 people. The deal with the workers' union, announced April 11, was the largest wave of furloughs since the theme parks closed in mid-March.

RELATED: Thousands of Disney workers could automatically get entered in Florida's unemployment system

RELATED: Disney World is furloughing 43,000 more workers due to coronavirus

For those furloughed, Disney said it will provide full health care benefits and urged U.S. employees to apply for unemployment benefits through their respective state's system. 

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Disney workers are being considered to be automatically enrolled in the state's unemployment system once they are furloughed. While he did not definitely say whether the state will move ahead with such a plan, DeSantis said "it probably would be better for everyone" if the state and a large employer with a massive round of furloughs could work together.

Doing this, DeSantis said, could alleviate some of the issues the bogged down system is facing, while also streamlining the process to hopefully get unemployment claims through faster.

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