Orlando’s Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Disney Cruise lines and Universal Studios are shut down temporarily due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Disneyland Resort in Southern California will not reopen on July 17 as announced earlier this month.
Disney said late Wednesday that it has to delay the planned reopening of Disneyland and California Adventure and on-site hotels because the state of California has said it will not issue reopening protocols until after July 4.
“Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and to restart our business we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme park and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials,” Disney Parks said in a statement on Twitter.
It did not set a new reopening date, saying it will do so once it has a “clearer understanding” of when guidelines will be released.
Last week, a petition was launched to delay the reopening
Labor union opposition to the July 17 reopening appears to have played a role, too. Last week, the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, which represents a dozen Disneyland Resort unions, sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom saying it was too early to reopen Disneyland, which closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The group and Unite Here, another union representing hotel and other hospitality workers, have a “Disney Caravan for Safety” event planned Saturday in Anaheim, home to Disneyland.
“Disney wants clearance from the government to reopen the Disneyland Resort in July,” it said. “Unfortunately, despite intensive talks with the company, we are not yet convinced that it is safe to reopen the parks on Disney’s rapid timetable.”
The group said Disney has addressed some of its safety concerns, including temperature checks for employees, but not answered others, including proposed COVID-19 testing. It called the latter a “cornerstone of plans for other areas of the entertainment industry reopening.”
Newsom praised Disney’s delayed reopening in a statement provided by spokesman Nathan Click on Wednesday.
“The governor appreciates Disney’s responsiveness to his concerns about reopening amid the recent increases in COVID-19 infections across many Southern California counties,” Newsom said. “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.”
Disney’s statement about the delayed reopening on Wednesday referenced its talks with unions.
“In order to reopen our theme parks we need to negotiate agreements with our unions to return employees to work,” the company said. “We have had positive discussions and are very pleased we have signed agreements from 20 union affiliates.”
Disney said Downtown Disney District will still reopen as planned on July 9. The reopening of the shopping, dining and entertainment complex was previously approved under the state’s restaurant and retail reopening guidelines, the company said.
Walt Disney World in Florida is due to reopen on July 11. Disney said its reopening plans for the Florida theme parks and those in Shanghai and Hong Kong were preapproved.
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