Disneyland Reopening Schedule, Delays Threaten Nearby Businesses

ANAHEIM, CA — It may be “A Small World After All,” as the song goes, but Disneyland is too big to reopen at present, according to the governor’s office. On Tuesday, the state’s newly released reopening guidelines showed that while some small amusement parks may reopen, large-scale theme parks will be at the back of the line.

The much-awaited reopening guidelines, shared Tuesday by California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, show that Disneyland Resort and California’s large-scale theme parks may not reopen until the county reaches the Yellow (minimal) Tier, likely not in 2020.

The reopening has been a concern not just for Walt Disney Co. but also for the city of Anaheim, which has suffered the loss of multiple businesses and livelihoods in the wake of the park closure.

Many Anaheim businesses depend on the Disneyland Resort for their survival, from restaurants to transportation and hotels.

The Castle Inn, one such business, sits directly across the street from the Disneyland main gates. With its royal theme and walkable distance to the resort, the 50-year-old hotel is a favorite among guests.

Today, the lobby sits empty. The hotel has no guests and no revenue, though there are many expenses that go with maintaining the property, according to owner Bharat Patel.

Bharat Patel discusses his empty hotel, crushing bills, and the sadness of letting longtime employees go. Interview photo.
Bharat Patel discusses his empty hotel, crushing bills, and the sadness of letting longtime employees go. Interview photo.

Seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, his hotel is devoid of guests. There are no little princesses running through the grounds or parents chasing after them. Still, to Patel, that isn’t the hardest part.

The most difficult thing he’s experienced thus far in the coronavirus pandemic is being forced to let a significant number of his staff go, he says.

“I still think about them every day,” he said, voice full of emotion. “How do you tell someone that put their blood sweat and tears into your dream that you don’t have the work for them?”

Patel doesn’t know when he can reopen, and that uncertainty keeps him up at night.

“I don’t think we can hold on much longer,” he says. “We need help.”

To Patel, Anaheim is a family, and that family is hurting.

Read also: Anaheim Will Survive, Officials Concerned With Closure Fallout

Orange County currently sits at the second, or Red (Substantial), tier of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint For A Safer Economy. For weeks, the county has teetered on the verge of the Orange tier; however, the case counts for daily positive cases remain stubbornly at the Substantial tier rankings.

As of Tuesday, Orange County is experiencing 4.6 new daily cases per 100,000 people, still in the Red tier. Meanwhile, the testing positivity percentage remains in the middle of the Orange tier rankings, at 3.2 positive tests per 100,000 people tested.

Disneyland will not be allowed to reopen until those two positivity percentages are solidly under 2 percent, according to the governor’s current plan.

According to the state, management can set to work preparing its reopening along with the established guidelines, though the reopening will likely not take place in 2020, according to officials.

Once smaller theme parks reopen, outdoor attractions will be allowed for entry at only 25 percent capacity or up to 500 people, whichever is less. Reservations are required. Only locals (from the same county as the park’s location) would be able to enter.

According to the guidelines, large-scale theme parks can reopen only at the Minimal (Yellow) tier and at a reduced capacity of 25 percent. Reservations will be required for every guest.

Sanitization, social distancing, masks and reduced capacity will be part of the new program.

Dr. Clayton Chau of the Orange County Health Care Agency discussed the likelihood of reaching the Yellow tier in the foreseeable future, saying it will be “very hard to achieve.”

Factors include when vaccines are available and at how many doses, as well as how many residents will “readily accept” getting vaccinated.

“Personally, I think we can look forward to a Yellow tier by next summer, hopefully,” he said. “Hopefully.”

Read also:

Anaheim Will Survive, Officials Concerned With Closure Fallout

This article originally appeared on the Lake Forest Patch

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