Disney will reopen the California parks on April 30, the entertainment giant confirmed to Fox News on Wednesday.
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Earlier this month, CEO Bob Chapek praised California state officials for loosening restrictions on theme parks, including Disneyland, that have been shuttered for months during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at Disney’s annual shareholder meeting, Chapek said the company was “encouraged by the positive trends we’re seeing” in the state. He noted that Disney was on track to reopen its local parks at limited capacity by late April, though state guidelines allow reopenings as early as April 1 in some counties.
“While last week’s announcement states that theme parks may open starting on April 1, the fact is it will take some time to get them ready for our guests – this includes recalling more than 10,000 furloughed cast and retraining them to be able to operate according to the State of California’s new requirements,” Chapek said in a statement.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials announced that theme parks could reopen at limited capacity in counties designated in its “red tier,” according to a color scale denoting the severity of local outbreaks. The decision followed months of criticism from Disney and other operators who argued the state’s guidelines were too restrictive.
In November, Disney disclosed that it would lay off 32,000 employees in the first half of fiscal 2021. That figure included 28,000 workers in its parks division.
Disneyland shut down last March in the early days of the pandemic. Disneyland Resort is currently serving as a mass vaccination site.
“I am pleased to say the response has been great thus far, our cast members are excited to get back to work,” Chapek added. “And this is good news for the Anaheim community, which depends on Disneyland for jobs and business generated by visitors.”
Ongoing park shutdowns cost the Disney segment about $2.6 billion in operating income last quarter, according to the company.
*This story, originally published on March 9, has been updated.