The Disneyland Resort announced it is delaying the planned July 17 re-opening of its Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks, citing the State of California decision against issuing reopening guidelines prior to July 4. Cast members who wanted to return to work, as well as guests who looked forward to visiting the parks, will have to wait longer.
“We previously announced a proposed phased reopening of our theme parks for July 17, pending government approvals. We developed enhanced health and safety protocols for both cast and guests at Shanghai Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort that have been approved, allowing us to reopen in a responsible manner and bring our cast members back to work,” Disney announced in a prepared statement.
“The State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4,” the statement continued. “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.”
Governor Newsom’s office indicated it will continue working with Disney and other theme parks in the state that are looking to re-open:
“The Governor appreciates Disney’s responsiveness to his concerns about reopening amid the recent increases in COVID-19 infections across many Southern California counties,” . The state and our public health experts continue to be in contact with the company and their workers — as well as other theme parks in the state — as we track and combat the spread of the virus.”
The Disneyland Resort is a huge economic generator. It is California’s largest employer, directly providing more than 32,000 jobs, supporting tens of thousands more in dependent businesses, and generating $2.5 billion in economic activity. The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out 50,000 tourism jobs in Orange County. The resulting shutdown of the Resort Area theme parks and hotels has shut off the City of Anaheim’s biggest source of tax revenue, and punched a $75 million hole in the city’s budget.
The Anaheim business community expressed disappointment in the Governor’s decision, noting . In a statement released today, Anaheim Chamber of Commerce President Todd Ament bemoaned the jobs, wages, badly needed economic activity and tax revenues lost due to the delay:
“The delayed reopening of Disneyland Resort’s theme parks and hotels because of the lack of state theme park guidelines is unfortunate. This means tens of thousands of jobs lost and tens of millions of tax dollars lost for the City to pay for critical services. Anaheim’s budget for police, fire, and other city services depends on the economic success of the Resort Area.”
“This also means more delays in advancing construction projects, that put our friends in the building trades to work. It means a delay in improving and reinvesting neighborhoods. It means less money to support affordable housing programs and helping get the homeless off the streets and into programs to turn their lives around. Small businesses that supply Resort businesses will suffer. Local restaurants that get a boost from tourists will continue to seriously struggle. This creates a horrible ripple through the fabric of Anaheim.”
“We remain hopeful that Disney can safely reopen soon. We know Disney has robust safety protocols and stands ready to safely reopen with the utmost care for their Cast Members in mind. Their reopening should be based on science and data and the knowledge Disney has gained from successfully reopening theme parks around the world. It is a tragedy that Disneyland – Walt’s first theme park, will be the last of Disney’s parks across the planet to reopen.”
The Downtown Disney retail and restaurant district will re-open on July 9 as planned in accordance with existing state re-opening guidelines, as well as additional health and safety protocols developed by Disney. The company stated the Master Services Union, which represents Downtown Disney workers, has already signed a return-to-work agreement for its members.
In order to recall furloughed employees, Disney is working to negotiate pertinent agreements with Resort unions, and reports it has signed agreements with 20 union affiliates, including the Master Services Council, which represents more than 11,000 cast members.
“The signed agreement details plans that include enhanced safety protocols that will allow us to responsibly reopen, and get thousands of our cast members back to work,” the company stated.