Shanghai Disneyland Reopens With Coronavirus Precautions in China

Date: 2020-05-11 06:44:28

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As visitors stood in front of Shanghai Disneyland waiting for it to reopen Monday after an almost four-month coronavirus shutdown, “A Whole New World,” the hit song from Walt Disney Co.’s film “Aladdin,” played in the background.

Yao Yao, a 37-year-old kindergarten teacher wearing a Minnie Mouse costume arrived at 8:30 a.m. and was among dozens of people waiting about six feet (two meters) apart for entry.

To reach the gates of Shanghai Disneyland, guests had to pass through body temperature checks and show that their health status has been confirmed using a smartphone app for tracking infected persons. Masks were mandatory, despite the muggy 23 degree Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) weather.

The reopening is one of the largest test cases yet of whether mass gatherings can take place safely amid the virus pandemic. As a marching band welcomed visitors to the Shanghai park, authorities around the world are facing rising pressure to end lockdowns and revive economies slammed by the global outbreak that has killed more than a quarter million people and infected 4 million.

Disney is struggling to recoup earnings at entertainment businesses impacted by the virus, while China’s government is grappling with the challenges of incrementally reopening the country. Parks, factories and restaurants in cities and countries around the world are reopening under rules to keep customers and workers apart, even as new surges in cases cause more lockdowns in other places.

“Simply walking in the park will make me forget anything unhappy,” said Yao. She said she normally visits four or five times a month.

Disney said Monday it is limiting access to the Shanghai park to a fifth of normal capacity, below the government-mandated one-third, during the initial reopening phase. Tickets for May 11 sold out in minutes, a sign consumers are prepared to spend and mingle in public as China cautiously moves beyond the virus.

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