We blogged this week about the progress being made by the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force to reopen Disney World in Florida with major crowd control and sanitation restrictions in place sometime this summer. People have been asking us when we think Disneyland in California will reopen.
The unfortunate answer is: Probably not this year. 😦
Disneyland and other California theme parks currently closed by the COVID-19 pandemic can’t reopen for months, possibly until an as-yet-undeveloped coronavirus treatment becomes available, according to state government officials.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell laid out a four-stage road map for reopening California’s economy during a livestream presentation on Tuesday, April 28th.
“Politics will not drive our decision making. Protests will not drive our decision making. Political pressure will not drive our decision making,” Newsom said. “Science, data and public health will drive our decision making.”
California is currently in Stage 1 with Stay-At-Home Orders still in place and now extended until at least May 15th. Stage 2 is “weeks” away, Stage 3 is likely “months” away, and Stage 4 would require coronavirus treatments, i.e., a vaccine, that have not yet been developed, Newsom said.
“Lower risk” workplaces such as retail, manufacturing, offices, schools and childcare facilities would reopen with adaptations such as social distance signage in Stage 2, possibly by June 1st.
“Higher risk” businesses and gatherings that include close contact – like salons, gyms, theaters, religious services, weddings and sporting events without live audiences – would reopen in Stage 3 with adaptations and limits on the size of gatherings. We would expect this stage to be reached in July if the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and death rate stabilizes and starts to fall.
Concerts, live-audience sports and other large events, venues and mass gatherings deemed the “highest risk” would reopen in Stage 4.
The governor added that the state needs to meet a Six-Point Criteria before California’s stay-at-home order can be lifted in May-June, which includes:
- Widespread testing that would allow the state to isolate people exposed to the virus and trace people with whom they have come in contact.
- The ability for the state to care for older and medically vulnerable Californians, who are most at risk of suffering severe effects from the virus, as they continue to isolate at home.
- The capacity for hospitals to handle a potential surge in patients, plus resume normal preventive and other medical care.
- The identification of promising treatments.
- The development of guidelines for businesses and schools to allow physical distancing even as they reopen.
- The creation of a data-tracking system that provides an early warning if the state needs to reinstate a stay-at-home order.
The California Governor was also quoted recently stating: “The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and a vaccine.” Additionally, he said large gatherings in June, July, and August are “unlikely.”
Director Angell said moving to Stage 4 would require coronavirus therapeutics to be in place: “This is going to be a while, but there are ways we can modify the way we move around in our environment that will make it more possible (to reopen).”
Gov. Newsom did not explicitly mention theme parks in his four-stage plan. Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California and other theme parks in the state would fall into Stage 4 – the last phase of the plan.
Currently, no drugs or other therapeutics are presently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
For comparison, as of April 29th, California has 48,828 confirmed cases with 2,104 deaths, while Florida has 33,193 cases with 1,898 deaths. Florida’s COVID-19 hot spot right now are the three counties around Miami in lower Florida, while in California the hot spot is Los Angeles county near where Disneyland is located.
And, of course, the wild card in all of this is the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall. Without a widely administered effective vaccine, even with crowd limitations and aggressive sanitation procedures in place, you can’t have 50,000 people from all over the world gathering in one small location.
Read more about when we think Disney World will reopen: When Will Disney World Reopen?
We’ve written two books about our time working – and playing – as Disney Cast Members at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
If you’d like to follow our daily Disney blog, here’s the link: https://collinsrace1.wordpress.com/
Have a magical day!
Two Disney Sisters
We’re so glad that we got to go for a visit in January 2020!