BREAKING NEWS: Disneyland May Not Be Reopening For A While Based On NEW Guidelines Released Today
So, the moment Disney execs have been pushing for heavily over the past few weeks has arrived. The State of California just released their theme park reopening guidelines. However, they may not be met with fanfare for those in charge of the state’s biggest theme parks including Disneyland and Universal as reopening looks like it will still be weeks or months away.
According to California Health and Human Services secretary Mark Ghaly the amusement parks have been added to Governor Gavin Newsom’s four-tier state reopening plan BUT criteria STILL needs to be met in order to reopen the parks safetly.
For a completely look at the reopening guidelines outlined by the state go here: guidance-amusement-theme-parks-en (1)
According to a piece in the OC Register, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure along with other parks like Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm and SeaWorld San Diego can reopen under newly issued protocols that require mandatory masks, social distancing, increased sanitization, reduced attraction capacity and employee training.
However here’s the caveat, In order for small theme parks to re-open, COVID-19 cases must be in the moderate tier of the plan and for larger parks like Disneyland the county must be in the “minimal” tier.
So what does this mean for those hoping to visit Disneyland Resort in 2020?
Well. As of going to print, most California counties with theme parks are currently considered a “substantial” risk-level. This includes Disneyland. These new guidelines mean that the theme parks won’t be able to reopen for weeks or even months depending on how long it takes for COVID-19 cases to decrease to the point where the risk is considered minimal.
If one was being optimistic you could hope that this would mean Disneyland could once again welcome guests in November or December however with cases of COVID-19 expected to be on the rise over the next few months we may not see the “Happiest Place on Earth” officially reopen to the public until some time in 2021.
Back in June, Disneyland announced that they were hoping to reopen on July 17th which would mark the 65th Anniversary of the theme park. However, a spike in COVID-19 cases in June meant that Disney couldn’t move forward with plans to reopen the theme parks and hotels and instead needed to wait for guidelines and a timeline from the State. Over the months that followed the theme parks have been left waiting while the Governor looks toward reopening other segments of the economy first. .
After six months of playing the waiting game, Disney execs started becoming more vocal about the impact the closure was having on the local economy and Disney as a whole. In the meantime Disney made the decision to lay off 28,000 cast members citing the extended Disneyland closure as a main catalyst of the decision and The Walt Disney Company has suffered financial losses that as the OC Register points out are expected to be in the billions.
Using the blueprint outlined by the State, only 7 counties in California (with a combined population of 238,000) have reached the “minimal” category need to reopen the theme parks. However, the county Disneyland sits in county with a huge population. In order to reach the “minimal” risk tier, Orange County would only be able to lower its category status if they have less the one daily new COVID-19 case per 100,000 people in the county. that is less than 2% positive tests. That’s huge for a county that boasts over 3 million residents!
The extended closures have had a devastating impact on hotels, restaurants and businesses surrounding the California theme parks and area cities that depend on tourism-based tax revenue. Since Disneyland closed, Anaheim’s budget deficit has climbed to $100 million and the city’s unemployment has risen to 15%.
The parks furloughed thousands of employees followed by layoffs as the closures stretched from weeks to months. Disney laid off 28,000 employees at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in late September as the company continued to struggle with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of its Anaheim theme parks.
In addition, Anaheim’s budget deficit has climbed to $100 million and the city’s unemployment has risen to 15%.
This is a story that we’ll continue to follow closely here at MickeyBlog. Readers are encouraged to keep checking back with us for further news and updates.
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