Disney on Wednesday announced it is postponing next month’s phased reopening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
The Anaheim theme parks, which have been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, had planned to welcome back visitors on July 17, with enhanced health and safety measures in place.
However, the company decided to delay it because California officials indicated they won’t be issuing reopening guidelines for theme parks until after July 4, according to a statement on Disney’s Twitter account.
“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,” the statement read.
The change does not affect Downtown Disney, which is still set to open again on July 9. A time frame for when the theme parks might reopen has not yet been provided.
“Once we have a clearer understanding of when guidelines will be released, we expect to be able to communicate a reopening date,” the statement said.
Disney’s announcement comes amid a statewide surge of COVID-19 cases. California reported more than 7,000 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, beating the state’s single-day record for positive tests that had been set the previous day.
In order to reopen, the theme park’s plans will still have to be approved by state and local officials. And Disney said it must still negotiate agreements with its 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 statement read.
Since announcing its plan to reopen the theme parks two weeks ago, the Disneyland Resort had received some pushback from employees, annual passport holders and other fans.
Last Thursday, unions representing some 17,000 employees sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, seeking to postpone the reopening date over safety concerns.
A change.org petition also sought a delay. By Wednesday evening, it had 50,000 signatures.
When Disneyland does reopen, parkgoers and cast members will see a number of new measures in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
The changes include temperature checks, required masks and physical distancing protocols. Disney also plans to limit theme park capacity.