Disney has announced that it will begin a phased reopening of its Shanghai theme park as of 11th May.
With all its global theme parks closed, the announcement was made at the same time the company reported significant losses due to the worldwide closure of all of its 12 parks in North America, Asia and Europe.
Having reopened its related Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and the Disneyland Hotel in Shanghai at the end of March, Disney will reopen the main theme park, which has been closed since 25th January, under "enhanced safety measures" next week.
The first Disney park to close at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Bob Chapek, Chief Executive of The Walt Disney Company, today advised "we know how much our guests have been looking forward to returning to Shanghai Disneyland, and our cast is excited to begin welcoming them back.
"As the park reopens with significantly enhanced health and safety measures, our guests will find Shanghai Disneyland as magical and memorable as ever."
Commenting on the operation of next week’s reopening, Chapek explained “we will take a phased approach with limits on attendance, using an advanced reservation and entry system, controlled guest density using social distancing and strict government required health and prevention procedures.
“These include the use of masks, temperature screenings and other contact tracing and early detection systems.”
Additional safety measures will include limiting attendance with an advanced registration and entry system.
With the theme park attracting an average of 80,000 visitors per day, the Chinese Government has mandated they operate at 30% capacity, or 24,000 visitors.
Chapek said the park would initially open operating well below that capacity and ramp up to reach the 30% cap over several weeks.
He added that "guests are required to purchase admission tickets valid on a selected date only and Annual Pass holders must make a reservation prior to arrival.”
Crowd sizes will also be controlled at restaurants, rides and other facilities. This includes focusing on rides that "will be loaded to promote social distancing," according to the company.
Additionally, cast members will receive training on "procedures with an emphasis on contactless guest interaction," the press release states, which includes cleaning and social distancing. Cast members will also receive personal protective equipment like masks.
Disney generated more than $26 billion in sales at its Parks, Experiences and Products division in fiscal 2019, representing 37% of the company's overall revenue.
But in Tuesday's earnings report, the company revealed its Parks and Experiences unit was hit particularly hard by the outbreak. The segment saw a 58% drop in operating income compared with last year.
Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said it remains unclear when the rest of Disney’s parks, resorts, cruise ships and Disney-branded stores will be able to reopen.
To encourage visitation to cultural attractions, the Chinese Government is issuing e-vouchers that can be used to buy items and tickets within the tourism, education, sports, leisure and entertainment industries.
China recently saw a boost in domestic tourism over the May Day holiday. As attractions around the country start to reopen, more than 23 million domestic trips were made in China.
Images: Shanghai Disney Resort.
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