The decision Wednesday comes as the state is seeing a marked spike in new cases of coronavirus. In fact, local health officials said that Orange County reported a record-high number of new infections just today.
“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 (read it in full below). “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 Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, which represents about 17,000 workers at Disney’s parks and resorts, had scheduled a protest for Saturday morning at Disneyland after sending California Gov. Gavin Newsom a letter last week urging him to delay the park’s reopening so as not to risk its members, as California has continued to see increases in COVID-19 cases.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Disney spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline: “The safety and wellbeing of our cast members and guests are at the forefront of our planning. We are in active dialogue with our unions on the extensive health and safety protocols, following guidance from public health experts, which we plan to implement as we move toward our proposed, phased reopening.”
All of Disney’s U.S. parks have been shuttered since mid-March as the pandemic took hold stateside.
The conglom noted that the Downtown Disney District will reopen on July 9 as previously announced, with health and safety protocols in place for cast members and guests. Walt Disney World in Orlando remains slated to throw open its gates July 11, but Florida also is among the states seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Disneyland laid the groundwork for a reopening plan about a month ago, before it had a timeline in place. It said at the time that “the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remain Disneyland Resort’s top priority.”
Disney parks overseas have been reopening as local governments lift virus-related restrictions.
Here is Disney’s release issued at 5:30 p.m. PT Wednesday:
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.
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