Disneyland Park, Anaheim, and Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando are reinstating quarantine regulations in light of mounting COVID-19 cases, a recent bulletin reveals. Parks are still open for business, but visitors two years of age and above are now required to wear face masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. Coverings remain optional when accessing outdoor areas.
The new Disneyland health mandate also applies to cast members. “We are adapting our health and safety guidelines based on guidance from health and government officials,” an official spokesperson tells the press. “This includes upon entering and throughout all attractions and in enclosed transportation vehicles, including shuttles, buses, monorails, and at Disney Skyliner.” Visitors must either be vaccinated or receive a negative COVID-19 status to be allowed on park grounds. The new regulation is on both parks’ official websites and is effective as of today, June 30.
Public facilities faced strict quarantine regulations at the height of the coronavirus pandemic as world governments adjusted to the new normal; state leaders requisitioned current laws with the goal of protecting residents and new directives were implemented to keep cases at bay. Unfortunately, the numbers spiked regardless, with over 4.2 million deaths by July 2021. Engaging in casual recreation immediately proved an unnecessary risk; as a result, entertainment venues were among the worst hit, especially bigger operations like Disneyland, Anaheim, and Walt Disney World, Orlando. Both parks attract up to 20 million visitors a year but endured catastrophic losses without their primary demographic. Large-scale layoffs ensued to keep finances tight and over 28,000 employees lost their jobs.
Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World shuttered their gates in March 2020 when COVID-19 started locking down businesses; Walt Disney World reopened four months later while Disneyland waited over a year to resume operations. The Orlando location was forced to close its doors following a surge in coronavirus cases in Florida and only reopened in March, followed by the Anaheim branch a little over a month later. Visitor response has been varied; most hardened patrons protested the stringent measures to avoid infection, citing their need to uphold the First Amendment. The organizers caved a few times, but eventually restored protocol for the sake of the majority. Both parks may have reopened, but only at 25% capacity and initially only to vaccinated visitors.
Cases briefly dropped worldwide after several iterations of the COVID-19 vaccine rapidly circulated. Unfortunately, new strains of the virus have surfaced, with some monstrously more dangerous than the last. The Delta variant is one such mutation. It affects even vaccinated citizens and is infinitely more unpredictable. State governments have had to enforce face coverings in public locations, including California where Disneyland is, and much of L.A. County. Florida has yet to impose any health mandates, despite Mayors Jerry Demings and Daniella Levine Cava tirelessly calling for action. Other countries have reinstated lockdown regulations, which means every other Disney park is equally at risk.
Disney has practically monopolized the entertainment industry, so rest assured both Disneyland, Anaheim, and Walt Disney World, Orlando will be fine by the time Delta cases plateau and herd immunity takes over. Movie theaters have only just reopened, however, with studios alternating between theatrical releases and streaming-only exclusives depending on the most recent health bulletins. Hollywood has only begun to recoup the millions they lost during the early years of the pandemic; shutting down a second time may cripple the industry worse than the first. Cinema notably stalled for much of 2020 when the numbers started rising, but resumed production in response to dwindling funds before the year was up. Continuing operations is going to be tricky with the Delta variant on the rise, but if Disneyland could adjust, so can the business of moviemaking.