ANAHEIM, Calif. — Disney fans have been waiting anxiously for the Happiest Place on Earth to reopen, but with concerns growing that a second wave of COVID-19 cases will sweep the country, tens of thousands of people are saying they’re willing to wait a bit longer.
A petition on the website Change.org titled “Schedule Disneyland to reopen at a later date” had more than 34,000 signatures as of Monday morning and was spreading quickly online.
“I understand everyone is rejoicing for the reopening of the parks but not during a pandemic where people are DYING, now is not the time,” the petition’s sponsor wrote. “Many people have lost loved ones due to this pandemic and by reopening the parks they are endangering cast members and guests.”
The park has been closed since mid-March. The company announced last week that it planned to reopen Disneyland on July 17, and laid out a variety of safety measures including metering the number of people inside the park, new cleaning standards and staff training, encouraging social distancing in lines and other strategies.
Meanwhile, Orange County health officials reported 260 new coronavirus cases in the region last Thursday, the third-most new cases on any day in the county since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles Times. The three largest single-day increases all occurred last week, the paper reports.
The Change.org petition calls on Disney to keep the park closed and reopen at “a later date when cases of COVID-19 drop and health officials state it is safer for everyone.”
In the comment section, signees cited a variety of reasons, including the health of employees who would feel pressured to return, not wanting to pay for an annual pass when they don’t feel comfortable visiting and the continued closure of other large event spaces.
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has announced its own phased reopening starting July 11, and Shanghai Disneyland reopened in May with similar health precautions in place.