Disneyland will not reopen as scheduled on July 17, Disney announced Wednesday, citing a lack of guidance from California officials. The announcement comes as the company moves forward with plans to reopen the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida — despite local concern that it could exacerbate the spread of the coronavirus.
“The State of California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4,” Disney said in a statement. “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,” the company added.
The Downtown Disney District will still reopen on July 9, the company said, noting that the reopening had been previously approved in line with restaurant and retail openings throughout the state.
At Disney World in Florida, the company is slated to reopen the first of several theme parks and attractions on July 11 — but the move still requires approval from state officials. Disney parks in both states have been closed since mid-March, costing the company millions in revenue.
When the parks do open, visitors will have to comply with a strict set of rules. Temperatures will be checked prior to entry, and anyone age 2 or older will be required to wear a face covering in public areas.
To help stem the virus’ spread, some attractions and events will remain closed. That includes parades, some types of character greetings, and playgrounds. Visitors will not be allowed to visit multiple parks per day.
Despite the precautions, thousands of people signed a petition urging Disney World to wait to reopen until “COVID-19 cases are no longer rising and no longer posing risk of spreading this disease to our working cast/team members, their families, and our theme park guests.”
Florida has seen an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases in recent days, setting records for the amount of positive tests. On Monday, the state topped 100,000 total cases.
California’s Disneyland resort faced similar pushback. Union leaders representing about 17,000 Disneyland employees wrote a letter to the governor arguing that it was unsafe to reopen the park, and more than 40,000 people signed a petition that called the company’s reopening plan “irresponsible and greedy.”
Khristopher Brooks contributed reporting.