The Disneyland theme park could reopen as early as April 1 as new rules from California health officials in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic take effect and infections in the area around the park drop. The park has been closed since March 14, 2020.
Combined with other park closures around the world, Disney saw a massive shift in the mix of its revenue in 2020 as it launched its video streaming service.
Disney’s parks in Hong Kong, Orlando, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Paris have reopened (and sometimes re-closed, and reopened) throughout the year due to the pandemic. Disney has said it planned lay off 32,000 workers, primarily working in its Parks and Resorts division, due to the pandemic.
Theme parks, stadiums, and other outdoor entertainment businesses could restart operations on that date if they severely limit public attendance and the counties they operate in are no longer in the “purple” tier of California’s color-coded Covid-19-risk levels. Theme parks like Disneyland would be initially limited to state residents, require masks and other safety measures, and have their attendance restricted to 15% to 35% of capacity. Similar restrictions would apply to live audiences at outdoor stadiums, ball parks, and performance arenas starting April 1.
As the most populated state in the US, California has led the country in Covid-19 cases and deaths, with a particularly large surge of cases at the end of 2020 that strained healthcare systems across the state and disproportionately hurt Black and Hispanic residents. The changes announced by state health officials on March 5 follow a decline in the rate of infections across the US rollout of vaccines, which are now reaching more than 2 million people per day.
Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort, said in a statement on Twitter that the decision meant “getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses and our entire community.”
There is no guarantee the rising number of vaccinations and falling infection rate in Orange County will reach the levels Disneyland needs to reopen. Potrock did not give a specific date.