Hong Kong Disneyland will be closed for a day on Wednesday after a visitor to the park tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, just weeks after Shanghai Disneyland temporarily closed its doors to a single case, in stark contrast to the US, where Disney’s theme parks social distancing measures and remained open during local Covid-19 peaks.
Hong Kong Disneyland said it was closed on Wednesday out of “an abundance of caution” to allow affected workers to be tested “earlier” for Covid-19, with CNN reporting the park was closed after a visitor tentatively tested positive for Covid-19.
The Hong Kong government, which owns a majority stake in the theme park, has instructed all visitors to the park between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday to take a Covid-19 test by Thursday.
The closure comes less than three weeks after Shanghai Disneyland was closed for several days after a visitor tested positive for Covid-19 on Oct. 30, according to local health officials quoted by CNN.
The Shanghai case also resulted in park guests and staff being locked up in the theme park on Oct. 31 after it was discovered, until everyone — nearly 34,000 people — could be tested.
Hong Kong and mainland China are taking aggressive steps to eliminate the coronavirus, and both theme parks are mandating the wearing of masks, temperature checks and physical distancing.
The strict measures in Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneyland – which like Hong Kong is also largely government-owned – are in stark contrast to Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the US. Disney has relaxed most of its social distancing measures at those parks in recent months, although some measures, such as mandates for indoor masks, are still in effect. Disney has also mandated vaccines for its American employees. After Walt Disney World and Disneyland reopened to guests in July 2020 and April 2021, respectively, the parks have remained open even as local cases have increased in Florida and California, such as during the Florida delta wave in the summer. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in an August earnings call during the delta wave that US parks would continue to reopen and expand capacity, despite the increase in cases.
Hong Kong’s aggressive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 have been criticized by some in the business community for being too strict. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co. said Monday he believed Hong Kong’s strict quarantine policy — which Dimon himself was able to avoid — was making it harder for his company to retain talent there, Bloomberg reported, and the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong previously announced this. tendered her resignation over quarantine requirements.
Hong Kong Disneyland has faced a series of temporary closures during the Covid-19 pandemic, some lasting for months at a time, but before Wednesday it had been open since February. Shanghai Disneyland was the first Disney theme park to be closed in January 2020 due to the pandemic, but was also the first to reopen in May of that year as cases fell in China. Every Disney theme park in the world — including in the US, Japan and France — was closed at some point during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in June of this year, all Disney theme parks opened globally for the first time since January 2020. Disney’s theme park revenues plummeted as a result of the closures, with operating income in the Parks, Experiences and Products division falling $6.9 billion in fiscal 2020 compared to the previous year. The company’s revenues are beginning to recover as parks have reopened, but Disney’s theme park division will return to profitability in the third quarter of 2021 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Suspected Covid case closes Hong Kong Disneyland (CNN)
China shuts down Shanghai Disneyland and tests 34,000 visitors after single Covid case (The Guardian)
Halloween Covid fears force Shanghai Disney to shut down as China ramps up efforts to eradicate virus (CNN)
In pictures: All Disney parks are now open again worldwide (Forbes)
Disney theme parks will continue to reopen and increase capacity despite Delta Variant Surge, CEO says – also in Florida (Forbes)
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