Hong Kong’s Disneyland reopens after five-month coronavirus break

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s loss-making Disneyland theme park reopened on Thursday to a limited number of local visitors and with enhanced health measures after the coronavirus outbreak forced it to close in late January.

An employee holds balloons at the Disneyland theme park after it reopened following a shutdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hong Kong, China June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

In contrast to major outbreaks seen in other big cities around the world, Hong Kong has reported a relatively small number of infections, recording 1,121 cases and four deaths. The border remains virtually shut but life is slowly returning to normal.

Dozens of visitors were seen queuing to get into the park on Thursday morning, many of them families with children.

“In the past few months I missed coming here so much,” said annual pass holder Vicky Lam, 36, as she waved at staff wearing Disney character costumes.

The park says its shopping and dining locations will have reduced capacity and that it will implement social distancing measures in any queues and throughout its facilities.

It will also carry out disinfection more frequently and make hand sanitisers available for visitors, who are required to go through temperature screening and wear a face mask.

Hong Kong’s Disneyland resort, which reported losses for at least the past three years according to annual reports available on its website, is owned by a joint venture, Hongkong International Theme Parks Ltd, in which the local government has 53% stake and Walt Disney Co holds the rest.

Without tourists, business for Disneyland in Hong Kong is likely to remain subdued. It will have to rely on a domestic market that was struggling with recession after months of often-violent pro-democracy protests even before the coronavirus blow.

Ocean Park, the city’s other theme park, reopened on Saturday after lawmakers approved a HK$5.4 billion ($697 million) bailout plan last month to keep it running for another year.

Shanghai’s Disneyland, which is able to attract visitors from outside the city, re-opened in May.

Reporting by Joyce Zhou; Editing by Edmund Blair

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