Downtown Disney Slated to Reopen Next Week Despite Renewed State Restrictions

A general view of atmosphere is seen at the opening of Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney District - Anaheim, California - getty - H 2020
Chris Weeks/WireImage

But the Anaheim theme park and hotels are delayed indefinitely.

Downtown Disney, the outdoor shopping center in Anaheim, will still reopen next week even though the state has renewed some restrictions on businesses amid a rise in novel coronavirus cases. 

Disney in June unveiled its plans to reopen the entire Southern California resort in phases. The shopping and dining district will be the first to reopen July 9. The Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park were targeted to reopen July 17, which would have coincided with the park's 65th grand opening. Resort hotels were set to reopen in late July. 

However, due to the large spike in California coronavirus cases (4,056 new cases and 73 deaths from the past day revealed Thursday), Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday ordered indoor operations for businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters, zoos, museums and cardrooms be suspended. Indoor shopping is still permitted, as is restaurant takeout and patio dining. 

Under those parameters, Downtown Disney is still able to operate as a number of the restaurants in the district have large patios. Masks and temperature checks will still be required as well as social distancing measures, which the company previously laid out. 

As for the Disney theme park and hotels, it is unclear when those will reopen. For the moment, plans are on hold. Disney said it was forced to delay its timetable after it learned the state would not be able to approve measures for reopening until after July 4. Newsom's office said it was too dangerous for the theme park to reopen amid the virus spike. 

However, even before the renewed restrictions derailed the theme park and hotel plan, Disney was in the middle of a public push-and-pull with a number of park unions who demanded greater safety measures than those already on the table. Namely, numerous unions want castmembers, aka park staff, tested regularly for COVID-19, a stipulation they say, so far, the company declined. Disney has not commented on the ongoing union negotiations.

Last weekend, a number of the unions banded together to protest outside the shuttered park, their biggest sticking point concerning testing. Still, a number of other unions have already agreed to terms with the company to begin recalling furloughed employees when the park does finally reopen. 

Walt Disney World will be fully reopened by the end of the month. There, castmembers have been supplied with thermometers for daily self-assessment before their shift. And should they contract the virus, they will have two weeks paid to quarantine. The first section that reopened at the Florida resort was Disney Springs, which is akin to Downtown Disney, on May 20. Thus far, there have been no reported incidents linked to that shopping and dining district.