After California officials issued new guidelines Friday allowing theme parks and stadiums to reopen as early as April 1, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday that Disneyland is hoping open its gates again in a matter of weeks.
“The fact is, it will take some time to get them ready for our guests,” he said, adding that Disney is focused on “recalling more than 10,000 furloughed cast members and training them to operate under the State of California’s new requirements.”
Chapek added that “it’s going to take another couple of weeks.”
The number of live shows that Disneyland can offer will initially be lower in order to comply with social distancing requirements.
“The number of actual shows we can have are greatly limited because of social distancing,” said the chief exec of gradually scaling up operations. “Right now we’re trying to limit contact [among] guests.”
Now that COVID-19 case rates have decreased and the vaccination rollout has begun, Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other major theme parks — as well as ballparks and stadiums — got the go-ahead from the California Department of Public Health on Friday to reopen to the public following a long shutdown.
Southern California’s theme parks have been closed since mid-March of 2020. They will be eligible to reopen once the counties they are located in reach the state’s red, or second-most restrictive tier, of a 5%-8% positivity rate and four to seven daily new cases per 100,000 people.
Currently, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego counties all remain in the highest tier, purple. Per statewide metrics, California has 10.2 new COVID-19 cases a day per 100,000 and a 3.7% positivity rate; Los Angeles County is recording 9.7 new cases per 100,000 and Orange County, where Disneyland is located, is logging 7.5 new cases per day per 100,000.
Once counties reach the red tier, theme parks will be allowed to reopen at 15% capacity. Stadiums will be allowed to reopen while still in the purple tier but with only 100 people or fewer in attendance.
“Consumers’ willingness to travel makes us more optimistic about the year ahead,” said Chapek, echoing his thoughts from Morgan Stanley’s investment conference a week ago, where he predicted that “demand is going to rebound quite handsomely.”
— Disney Parks News (@DisneyParksNews) March 9, 2021