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Disney to Pay Theme Park Workers During Coronavirus Shutdown

By Daniel B. Kline - Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 11:23AM

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The company has had to close its theme parks, hotels, and cruise line.

Walt Disney (DIS 3.69%) has made the decision to shut down its theme parks, resort hotels, and cruise line in the United States. The decision is due to guidance that Americans stop gathering until the coronavirus threat passes.

So far, the company has said its U.S.-based properties would be closed until the end of the month. The reality is that Disney does not really know when it will be safe to reopen. It has, however, said it plans to pay all cast members (its designation for theme park, hotel, and cruise line employees) through the announced shutdown.

Two kids ride the teacups at a Disney theme park.

Disney has closed all of its theme parks in the U.S. Image source: Walt Disney.

What did Disney say?

Disney took to social media to lay out the timeline of the closure, which will be in effect through the end of March. In that post, the company said, "The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period."

That language leaves the company wiggle room to change its policy on paying workers should the closure extend beyond the current timeline (and it's very hard to believe that it won't). 

Disney is doing the right thing

Most theme park workers making an hourly wage are not highly paid. The same is true for hotel and cruise line workers.

Many of those people are likely one missed paycheck away from serious financial concerns. By paying its employees, Disney is doing them a major service and helping them stay afloat until they can get back to work.

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