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Walt Disney Studios Staffers Furloughed Amid Pandemic

Staffers at Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Searchlight and more were notified of furloughs

Walt Disney Studios staffers in the film department have been hit with furloughs on Thursday, a week after it was announced that the conglomerate will begin furloughing certain employees whose jobs aren’t deemed necessary beginning on April 19, TheWrap has confirmed.

Staffers at Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Searchlight and more were notified of furloughs. Additionally, the marketing and distribution departments have been impacted.

The company did not give a specific number for the amount of people who it expects to impacted by the furloughs, but did say that all of those affected will remain Disney employees with full healthcare benefits.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on our world with untold suffering and loss, and has required all of us to make sacrifices. Over the last few weeks, mandatory decrees from government officials have shut down a majority of our businesses,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. “Disney employees have received full pay and benefits during this time, and we’ve committed to paying them through April 18, for a total of five additional weeks of compensation. 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, like most of Hollywood, has been hit hard by the continued spread of the novel coronavirus, as movie theaters remain closed and theme parks are still shuttered. Many entertainment companies have made tough decisions, furloughing and laying off employees as they scramble to cut costs.

Last month, Disney extended the closures of its theme parks, which were first announced March 13,  indefinitely.

In addition to its theme parks, Disney has suspended cruises and delayed theatrical distribution worldwide as theaters have been ordered to close and people to stay in their homes. Some analysts estimate Disney could lose $500 million just from closing its parks through the end of March, and hundreds of millions more depending on how long the spread of the coronavirus persists.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.