Disney announced yesterday, 24 June, that the company will delay the reopening of its theme parks in California due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the US.
The House of Mouse planned to reopen Disneyland and Disney California Adventure on 17 July 2020, the 65th anniversary of the opening day of Disneyland Park, after the temporary closure for the pandemic. But now the theme parks will remain closed for some more days and Disney hasn’t yet announced the revised dates of reopening.
The company stated that the State of California had indicated it would not issue theme park reopening guidelines “until sometime after 4 July” according to a statement. the statement further read: “Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials. Once we have a clearer understanding of when guidelines will be released, we expect to be able to communicate a reopening date.”
Disneyland is still awaiting state and local government approvals for the new opening dates. California’s new COVID-19 cases continued to rise in recent days as the state was moving forward with its reopening plans. There was a 69 per cent increase in new cases in just two days as 7,149 new cases of COVID-19 were reported over a 24-hour span on Wednesday, breaking the daily record for new infections for a second straight day.
A coalition of labour unions representing 17,000 Disneyland Resort employees have expressed their concern over the July reopening plan in a letter last week to California governor Gavin Newsom, saying that they were “not yet convinced it is safe to reopen the parks” despite intensive talks with the company.
Disney said on Wednesday that the company had positive discussions and are very pleased to have signed agreements from 20 union affiliates, including the Master Services Council, which represents more than 11,000 of its cast members.
The company said that the signed agreement details plans that include enhanced safety protocols that will allow the company to responsibly reopen and get thousands of its cast members back to work.
Due to the pandemic, Disney closed its North American parks and resorts, cruise line business and Disneyland Paris in mid-March, while its Asia parks and resorts were closed much earlier.
The Shanghai Disneyland reopened on 11 May with a number of advised health and safety measures, becoming the first among six Disney theme parks worldwide to resume operations again.
“We developed enhanced health and safety protocols for both employees and guests at Shanghai Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort, Florida that have been approved, allowing us to reopen in a responsible manner and bring our cast members back to work,” the company said.
The company said last month that COVID-19’s estimated impact on the entertainment giant’s income from continuing operations before income taxes was as much as $1.4 billion during the second quarter for the fiscal year 2020.