Petition urges Disney World to delay reopening due to pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. — Many fans are wondering what’s next for Walt Disney World after the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Central Florida and some have even signed their names on a petition, urging the park to delay its reopening.

It was announced Wednesday evening that Disneyland will no longer reopen in July as the company hoped.

The key difference in the parks’ plans came down to permission in their respective states; Disneyland was awaiting California state approval to reopen while Disney World already received consent from Florida.

Read: Coronavirus: Disney delays reopening Disneyland, Disney California Adventure indefinitely

Central Florida’s recent surge in cases, however, now has thousands of employees and prospective visitors now petitioning for the company to delay reopening.

After receiving approval to reopen in May, the company said it planned to take its time, deciding not to reopen in June like some other Orlando theme parks and instead setting its sights for July.

“We believe this thoughtful, methodical, phased ramped up strategy to our property is the right path,” said Jim Macphee of Walt Disney World.

Read: Disney parks scheduled to open soon, but workers, guests ask company to reconsider schedule

Disney World employs about 70,000 cast members. Calling them back and implementing new safety guidelines would take time. Those precautions include a face covering requirement, temperature checks, social distancing plus additional sanitation and capacity limits already in place at Disney Springs.

As more people in Florida started testing positive for COVID-19, a petition was created to urge a delay in reopening. The petition has more than 9,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.

The union representing Disney’s workers said it isn’t behind the recent petition.

Read: Disney announces annual passholder preview dates, new reservation system ahead of reopening

As of now, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are set to reopen July 11. Epcot and Hollywood Studios will open 4 days later.

Passholders will have an opportunity to use a new online reservation program to visit those parks on Friday.

Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates on this developing story.

Read: Select Disney resorts and hotels reopen to welcome back guests, employees

Cierra Putman

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.

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