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Disney parks will ‘likely’ require guests, employees to wear face masks upon reopening, CEO Bob Chapek says

By Fabrice Pierre-Toussaint

Staff Writer for Telegraph Local | See my LinkedIn

When Walt Disney-branded theme parks in the U.S. are open to the public once again, guests and employees will “likely” be required to wear face masks as the coronavirus crisis continues, according to the chief executive.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek speculated in a Monday interview that facial protection will probably be mandatory for park goers and cast members once Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., reopen for business.

“Along with social distancing, one of the things we’re likely going to require is masks for both the cast and the guest,” Chapek told CNBC when asked what the most difficult aspects of ultimately reopening the American parks might be.

“In Asia, as you know, it’s fairly commonplace even before COVID for folks to walk around in public with masks on. That’s not the case in the U.S.,” he continued. “So that will be something that will be a little trying I think for some of the guests, particularly in the hot, humid summers we tend to have.”

Shanghai’s Disneyland in China reopened to the public on Monday, the first park of Disney’s international chapter to do so, although with modified operations. Shanghai Disneyland welcomed guests at 30 percent capacity and enforced health safety measures such as social distancing and face masks throughout its grounds.

“We’re going to comment on any specific date to a certain extent. A large extent is going to depend on guidance we get from the federal government, state government, local government, [and] healthcare experts, as well as the immediate hospitals in the area of where we operate and where their capacities are,” Chapek said, further describing Disney Spring’s upcoming, limited reopening as a “good sign.”

The CEO added that he eagerly looks forward to the day that the theme parks can safely reopen.

“I get countless numbers of emails, correspondence from guests saying how much they can’t wait for us to open up, because to them it represents some semblance of normal, maybe the new norm,” he revealed. “We certainly want to open up as soon as we can across the world but we’re going to do so in a responsible way.”

“We’re excited for our guests, we’re excited for our cast. We want to get our cast back to work as soon as possible,” Chapek continued. “It’s a first step, a baby step, but we’re very encouraged by what we see in Shanghai.”

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