Hong Kong Disneyland, which reopened June 18, is closing again temporarily due to the resurgence of COVID-19.
Hong Kong cinemas also will be forced to close again starting Wednesday after a spike in local cases of the coronavirus led authorities to re-implement tighter lockdown measures.
The government will close 12 types of businesses, including gyms, gaming centers and cinemas, and will limit group gatherings to just four people, down from 50. Cinemas initially shuttered on March 28 but began re-opening in early May, with limitations in place.
News of the theme park closure comes two days after Disney reopened Disney World despite a significant rise in virus infection rates in Florida. The media giant has gradually been trying to reopen the gates of its parks around the world. The sites are a major source of revenue but also present a nest of logistical challenges as health officials and political leaders grapple for solutions and infection rates fluctuate.
“As required by the government and health authorities in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland park will temporarily close from July 15,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. “The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort hotels will remain open with adjusted levels of services. They have put in place enhanced health and safety measures that reflect the guidance of health and government authorities, such as social distancing measures and increased cleaning and sanitization.”
Hong Kong began confronting the coronavirus starting in January, with schools and businesses closing. During a second wave weeks later, most lockdown provisions remained intact, loosening in May amid encouraging trends in the data. From June 13 through July 5, there were no locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, officials said.
Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005. It brought in $6 billion in revenue during the fiscal year ending September 28, 2019, but losses doubled to $13.4 million from the prior year due to ongoing anti-government protests.
“Unless we have an effective vaccine which can be widely used in the community, we may need to co-exist with the virus for a period of time,” Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam told a news conference on Monday, as reported by Reuters.
The theater news is a blow to the local film industry. Hong Kong has had relative success containing the virus thanks to strict early lockdown measures, but the territory confirmed 52 new cases today, taking its number to 1,522, with eight deaths.
On a more positive note, the government’s Film Development Fund today announced plans for a $260M HKD ($34M USD) shot in the arm for the local film biz, with the money going towards several supporting measures including one that will see established directors such as Wong Kar-wai partner with young filmmakers to make films with subsided budgets.
As a result of social events and the epidemic, local film production and investment have shrunk, posing acute challenges to the trade and practitioners in the past year. The Government is therefore committed to providing multi-pronged support for the trade to go through this difficult period and sustaining the success story of Hong Kong films,” the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, said.