New York – With new media reports that Hong Kong Disneyland will close after 52 new cases of COVID in the city, new questions are being raised about whether Disney will move forward with the reopening of Epcot and Hollywood Studios as planned. Hong Kong Disneyland is scheduled to close July 15, the very same day that Epcot and Hollywood Studios are scheduled to open to the public for the first time.
As Walt Disney World opened two of its parks, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, over the weekend, Florida added more than 40,000 new COVID cases. The opening was marred by universally bad reviews in the media.
“Given that Hong Kong Disneyland will be closing this week, does Disney still plan to reopen Hollywood Studios and Epcot without any plan to test its performers?” said Brandon Lorenz, Actors’ Equity’s National Director of Communications. “With coronavirus cases surging in Florida, there is no better time for Disney to commit to a strong safety plan that includes testing for performers.”
"News of the theme park closure comes two days after Disney reopened Disney World despite a significant rise in virus infection rates in Florida. The media giant has gradually been trying to reopen the gates of its parks around the world. The sites are a major source of revenue but also present a nest of logistical challenges as health officials and political leaders grapple for solutions and infection rates fluctuate." — Deadline: Hong Kong Disneyland, Movie Theaters Closing Again Due To COVID-19 Surge
Hong Kong’s closure stands in stark contrast to the re-opening of Walt Disney World in Florida. The Orlando-based venue opened up a large portion of its parks over the weekend to visitors despite record-breaking coronavirus case counts in the state that far outstrip the surge Hong Kong is currently experiencing. — Variety, Hong Kong Disneyland Will Close Again Amid Coronavirus Spike
Disney World's Reopening Gets Two Thumbs Down
"'I think it's like pouring gasoline on a fire,' said Dr. Terry Adirim, a physician and dean at Florida Atlantic University, who was concerned to see the theme park reopen. 'I don't think it's going to help us drive down our case rates. I think it's going to do the opposite.'" — CBS News
"One epidemiologist warns that reopening Disney World at this particular moment would make the park 'the happiest place on Earth… for the coronavirus.'
"Dr. Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the leader of the UCLA COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative, says it is a 'terrible idea to be opening right now'” particularly as the number of coronavirus cases are surging in Florida. The state, which as of Thursday recorded 232,718 coronavirus cases and over 4,000 deaths so far, recently extended the state of emergency for another 60 days.
"Disney’s fight with Actors’ Equity follows years of worker complaints over low pay and exploitative conditions." — New York Magazine
ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA. www.actorsequity.org #EquityWorks
July 13, 2020