It’s no secret that Florida’s and California’s approaches to reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic have been as different as east and west could be. Theme parks have felt that difference as much as, if not more than, any other type of business.
The reopening of Disneyland is looking unlikely to happen anytime soon.
On Tuesday, the state government of California released new and lengthy guidance on how theme parks in the state will be able to safely reopen. The document notes that attractions such as Disneyland will be allowed to welcome visitors again only after the county it’s located in reaches a lower level of COVID-19 cases — a feat that could take some time to accomplish.
According to the document, smaller theme parks can resume operations once their county hits California’s phase three of COVID recovery, while larger theme parks, such as Disneyland, will not be allowed to reopen until its county hits phase four. Orange County, where Disneyland is located, is currently in California’s phase two, per NBC-affiliate KHQ.
The announcement drew criticism from the President of Disneyland Resort, Ken Potrock, who said in a statement that the new guidelines are “unworkable.”
“We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world,” Potrock said. “Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities.”
— Disney Parks News (@DisneyParksNews) October 20, 2020
Disney originally planned to reopen its Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure Park as early as July 17, but the company announced at the time that the approval they had expected imminently from state and local government officials would not be granted in time..
Both U.S. Disney parks closed in March. Walt Disney World in Orlando began its phased opening on July 11 despite a surge in cases in the state at the time and a petition calling for the date to be pushed back created by park employee Katie Belisle that had gathered more than 19,000 signatures as of July 10.
Since reopening, Disney World has enacted numerous new rules and protocols, including requiring face masks, temperature checks upon entry, socially distanced rides and lines and contactless payment at stores and restaurants.
Across the globe, Disney’s parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Paris have also reopened.
I feel for all the employees who are out of work because of this, thousands of people who’s livelihoods are gone.