California Disneyland delays reopening as virus cases surge

·2 min read

By Bhargav Acharya

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co <DIS.N> said the reopening of theme parks and resort hotels in California will be delayed until Disneyland receives approval from state officials, as the state is hit by a huge spike in new coronavirus cases.

Disney had originally planned to reopen the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park on July 17.

"California has now indicated that it will not issue theme park reopening guidelines until sometime after July 4," Disney said in a statement on Wednesday.

An alarming surge in coronavirus infection rates around the country have prompted calls for a delay in reopening of theme parks and other facilities where big crowds gather.

California witnessed its largest ever spike in confirmed new cases on Tuesday, with an additional 7,149 infections taking the state total to 190,222.

Disney had received pushback from unions representing 17,000 workers at its Disneyland Resort in Southern California, who said they were not convinced the theme park would be safe enough to reopen by the company's target date.

It has also come under pressure to delay the July 11 reopening of its Orlando, Florida-based Walt Disney World.

Disney began closing its theme parks around the world in January in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Disney in early May said measures to contain the pandemic had cuts its profits by $1.4 billion, most from its shuttered theme parks.

Disney started reopening its theme parks in May, starting with Shanghai Disneyland, and last week reopened Hong Kong Disneyland. In Florida, it has partially reopened its Disney Springs entertainment and shopping complex.

The company did not provide a new reopening date for its California parks and said it would provide one when it has a better sense of the guidelines, when they are released by the state.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler, Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast.)