Walt Disney Co. will partially reopen its Disney Springs entertainment and shopping complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida on May 20, it said late on Saturday.
Disney and unions representing workers at Florida’s Walt Disney World reached an agreement on safeguards to protect employees from the coronavirus, a union statement said on Thursday, removing one of the company’s hurdles to reopening its popular theme parks.
The company said next week, third-party operating participants would open at Disney Springs and later this month three stores and venues owned and operated by Disney — World of Disney, D-Luxe Burger and the Marketplace Co-Op — would reopen.
“While our theme parks and resort hotels remain temporarily closed, the phased reopening of Disney Springs is a welcome milestone as we navigate through this unprecedented time together as responsibly as we can,” Disney Springs Vice President Matt Simon said in a statement.
The entertainment giant said it was implementing safety measures and operational changes such as cashless or contactless payment options, a requirement to wear “appropriate” face covering, temperature screenings, social distancing practices, increased cleaning and disinfection procedures.
In the United States, Florida is ahead of California, home to Disneyland, in reopening businesses that were closed starting in mid-March.
Shutting theme park gates cost the company $1 billion from January through March, Disney said earlier this month. About 120,000 of the company’s workers were placed on unpaid furlough, many of them theme park “cast members”, as Disney calls them.
(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)