Disneyland delays July 17 reopening amid coronavirus concerns

The Happiest Place on Earth says California won't issue reopening guidelines until after July 4.

The Walt Disney Company announced on Wednesday that it will delay the July 17 reopening of Disneyland and California Adventure due to timing over coronavirus safety guidelines from the state of California.

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Disney said in a statement that California will not issue guidelines until after July 4 – 13 days before it was to open its landmark theme park.

“Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and restart our business, we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme parks and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials,” the company said in its statement. "Once we have a clearer understanding of when guidelines will be released, we expect to be able to communicate a reopening date."

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Disney added that it still needs to negotiate agreements with its union employees regarding their return to work. The company said it has had "positive discussions", signing agreements with 20 of its unions thus far.

FILE - In this March 13, 2020, file photo, visitors take photos at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Disney announced an indefinite postponement on Wednesday, June 23, 2020 for Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin)

A protest was reportedly set for Saturday by the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, which represents about 17,000 Disney parks workers, following the group's concerns about the increase of coronavirus cases. The group had sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom last week expressing those concerns and asking for a delay in the park’s reopening.

The company has also received pushback from both Disneyland and Walt Disney World employees online as three petitions have garnered thousands of signatures, demanding the theme parks remain closed until coronavirus cases decrease across the country.

Meanwhile, the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim will reopen on July 9 as planned with health and safety protocols in place after its restaurants and retail locations were approved to meet state guidelines.

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The decision to delay the reopening of Disneyland and California Adventure comes within hours of reports that Disney is considering a delay in releasing its highly anticipated hit, “Mulan” into theaters as planned on July 24 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. NBC News reported Wednesday that the U.S. set a record with 36,358 reported cases in a single day.

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Disney has yet to announce plans to delay its phased reopening of Walt Disney World starting July 11. In addition, the company announced earlier this week that it will begin phased reopenings of Tokyo Disneyland on July 1 and Disneyland Paris on July 15.

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