Disneyland Postpones Its Re-Opening; It Might Be Good To Take A Pause
Today, the Walt Disney Company announced that it would be postponing Disneyland's July 17 re-opening as the State of California will not reissue theme park re-opening guidelines until after July 4. This puts the company in a conundrum as it would not have time to rally its thousands of cast members. But, honestly, it might be a good time to take a pause.
I know we're all excited for civilization to be restored and freedom to ring throughout the land, particularly around a certain kingdom. I know when they announced the re-openings, I ended up booking a hotel despite the fact that I am high risk. That's how badly I want to go back.
But, when I look at the news, our ability to combat COVID-19 seems discouraging, especially in our state of California. According to a Reuters article, "The number of people hospitalized in California with COVID-19 has increased by nearly a third over the past two weeks, with about 1,500 suspected or confirmed patients requiring intensive care, officials said on Wednesday."
Just on Tuesday, 7,149 new cases were reported!
According to Governor Newsom, these cases are due to people not taking the proper precautionary measures. In other words, we're getting sloppy. And, it doesn't help that Orange County, California - home county of Disneyland - rescinded obligatory rules to wear face masks in public.
I think it is good that Newsom and the State of California are taking more time to review these guidelines as I think it would be irresponsible to re-open at this time. Especially when Disneyland planned to post signs that said, “By visiting the Disneyland Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
Whose responsibility will it be if cast members contract COVID-19 and, god forbid, die from it?
The more I think of it, the more I think we're moving too fast. It's time to slow down.
Here is the official statement from Disney:
"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.
The State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4. 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.
Our Downtown Disney District will reopen on July 9 as previously announced with health and safety protocols in place for our cast members and guests. The opening of our Downtown Disney District has been previously approved in line with restaurant and retail openings throughout California. The Master Services Union, which represents our retail cast at this location, previously signed an agreement for members to return to work.
In order to reopen our theme parks we need to negotiate agreements with our unions to return employees to work. We have 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 our 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.
We thank our cast and guests for their patience during this unprecedented time while we await approval from government officials."