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Disney Has Bad News: 28,000 Theme Park Workers Laid Off Because of Coronavirus

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Disneyland (Getty)

Disneyworld (Getty)

The prolonged coronavirus crisis in California has kept Disney‘s theme parks there completely closed and its Florida parks open with limited capacity has forced the company to announce that it will lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products division.

In a letter sent to employees on Tuesday, Josh D’Amaro, head of parks at Disney, detailed several “difficult decisions” the company has had to make in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including ending its furlough of thousands of employees.

Shares of the company fell less than 2% after the closing bell on Tuesday.

Around 67% of the 28,000 laid off workers were part-time employees, according to D’Amaro. The company declined to break down the layoffs by individual park locations.

While Disney’s theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California Adventure and Disneyland have remained shuttered in Anaheim, California.

The parks, experiences and consumer products segment is a vitally important part of Disney’s business. Last year, it accounted for 37% of the company’s $69.6 billion in total revenue, reports CNBC.

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Disneyland (Getty)

Disney’s memo to employees:

Team,

I write this note to you today to share some difficult decisions that we have had to make regarding our Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products organization.

Let me start with my belief that the heart and soul of our business is and always will be people. Just like all of you, I love what I do. I also love being surrounded by people who think about their roles as more than jobs, but as opportunities to be a part of something special, something different, and something truly magical.

Earlier this year, in response to the pandemic, we were forced to close our businesses around the world. Few of us could have imagined how significantly the pandemic would impact us — both at work and in our daily lives. We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived, and that we would recover quickly and return to normal. Seven months later, we find that has not been the case. And, as a result, today we are now forced to reduce the size of our team across executive, salaried, and hourly roles.

As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy. For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, suspended capital projects, furloughed our cast members while still paying benefits, and modified our operations to run as efficiently as possible, however, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while operating at such limited capacity.

As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic.

Thank you for your dedication, patience and understanding during these difficult times. I know that these changes will be challenging. It will take time for all of us to process this information and its impact. We will be scheduling appointments with our affected salaried and non-union hourly employees over the next few days. Additionally, today we will begin the process of discussing next steps with unions. We encourage you to visit The Hub or the WDI Homepage for any support you may need.

For those who will be affected by this decision, I want to thank you for all that you have done for our company and our guests. While we don’t know when the pandemic will be behind us, we are confident in our resilience, and hope to welcome back Cast Members and employees when we can.

Most sincerely,

Josh D’Amaro
Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Product

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Coronavirus

Kamala Harris Campaign Suspends Travel After Staffer Tests Positive for Coronavirus

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*There’s big news coming out of Senator Kamala Harris‘ camp this morning. The Democratic Vice presidential candidate will pause her campaign travel through Sunday after her communications director tested positive for coronavirus, the Biden campaign announced Thursday.

The campaign said that the vice presidential nominee, who tested negative for the virus on Wednesday, was “not in close contact” with the aide, Liz Allen, under CDC guidelines. However, Harris will still pause her travel “out of an abundance of caution and in line with [the] campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution,” the campaign said.

Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said that Harris will return to the trail by Monday, Oct. 19 — but maintain “a robust and aggressive schedule of virtual campaign activities” until then.

Additionally, he campaign is also suspending travel for Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband.

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Kamala Haris (mask - Getty) - 1602769526532

Kamala Haris – Getty

Harris was scheduled to travel Thursday to North Carolina for events encouraging voters to cast early ballots.

The campaign told reporters Thursday morning that Harris’ communications director and a traveling staff member for her travel to Arizona tested positive after that Oct. 8 trip.

Harris and Biden spent several hours together that day through multiple campaign stops, private meetings and a joint appearance in front of reporters at an airport. They were masked at all times in public, and aides said they were masked in private, as well. Biden and Harris have each had multiple negative tests since then.

Biden, meanwhile, is scheduled to attend an ABC News town hall airing live at 8pm Eastern.

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Coronavirus

VIDEO: How NJ’s Most Segregated County Fueled COVID: Racism & Coronavirus Made a ‘Vicious Circle’

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USA TODAY: In New Jersey’s most segregated county, racism and coronavirus made a ‘vicious circle’

*Housing segregation has made New Jersey ripe for the pandemic’s spread, according to a new six-part series in USA TODAY that examines how racism fuels COVID-19 deaths.

One of the stories focuses on NJ’s Essex County, home to some of the most segregated and impoverished communities in the U.S., where some residents jam together in cramped apartments, multi-generational homes and housing projects. Essex County was among the top 10 in the country for its death rate from the novel coronavirus during the first wave of the pandemic, and still hovers in the top 15 months later.

New Jersey leaders try to address the inequities that allowed COVID-19 to hit parts of Essex County harder than communities that have more whites. They point to decades of housing policies – some unspoken, some written –  that banned white property owners from selling homes to Black buyers. Those practices also excluded Black residents from the midcentury homeownership and wealth-building boom, and they kept communities of color concentrated in often poor and neglected neighborhoods.

Below, a video from the story by USA TODAY writers Deborah Barfield Berry and Kameel Stanley.

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Scarface Reveals He Has ‘Started the Process to Get a Kidney Transplant’

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*Scarface has revealed that he’s begun the process to receive a kidney transplant.

The news comes nearly a week after the Geto Boys rapper took to Twitter to announce that he’s searching for a kidney donor. 

The Houston native revealed in April that he suffered kidney failure during his battle with coronavirus. 

“I’ve started the process to get a kidney transplant, I appreciate the love! It should take me 2-3 months to see if I’m a good candidate,” he shared in his latest update on Twitter. “In the meantime you stay healthy, the list will open shortly [thereafter] and we can discuss who’s a match.. again I appreciate that y’all.”

Scarface previously said he was looking for volunteers with B+ blood type, but he clarified that a specific blood type is not necessary. 

“They will match me with my kidney in exchange so anyone can be a donor,” he explained, adding, “can’t thank y’all enough.”

READ MORE: Rapper Scarface Searching for a Kidney Donor Following COVID Battle

The hip-hop icon told Fox5 DC that his kidneys never fully recovered after his COVID battle earlier this year. 

“COVID attacked my lungs first, and then it attacked my kidneys and knocked them out,” he said. “I got full lung recovery, but my kidneys never came back … I’m still a little weak. I don’t have a lot of strength in my legs yet. I still haven’t got full taste back and sense of smell yet. But I am glad to be alive.”

Scarface also opened up about his COVID diagnosis during an interview with Willie D, noting that he had to be placed on dialysis, Complex reports. 

“I fought COVID double bilateral pneumonia—both lungs—and kidney failure in my house,” he said. “I went back to the hospital. I just got out of the hospital [on April 20] … I gotta change my entire diet, I gotta do dialysis four days a week, three hours a day. That’s taking all my blood out, cleaning it and putting it back in my body.”

The rapper went on to say of COVID, “this is not fake.”

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