An online petition urging a delay of the scheduled reopening of the Disneyland Resort due to the risk of guests contracting coronavirus has acquired more than 26,000 signatures as of Saturday morning.
The change.org petition was started by a user called "We Are Anonymous" and states that because COVID-19 cases are rising, Disneyland Resort is "endangering cast members and guests to be exposed to (coronavirus)" with its planned reopening of Disneyland and California Adventure on July 17. The Downtown Disney shopping district is scheduled to reopen July 9.
"There are more cases now than when the parks closed on March 13th, 2020," the petition said. "Health Officials have stated that the 2nd wave of COVID-19 will be worse. So reopening before the 2nd wave even hits us is irresponsible and greedy."
In a blog post on the Disney parks web site, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel said on May 5, "...our focus remains on the health and safety of the entire Disney community -- including the wellbeing of the cast members who are caring for and securing our parks and resorts during the closure."
"We have already implemented a number of enhanced health and safety measures, such as increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in work areas, adjusting practices to promote physical distancing, and providing cast with access to necessary PPE, including face coverings."
Hymel also said physical distancing and a reduction in the number of guests allowed in the parks and guests undergoing temperature screenings before entry are among the safety measures being implemented.
UC Irvine associate professor of population health and disease prevention, Andrew Noymer, told the Los Angeles Times the risk of spreading the virus at Disneyland can be reduced by following these measures.
"I don't think Disneyland reopening is an absolute catastrophe, but it's all in the execution," Noymer said. "It won't be, verbatim, the Disneyland we knew last summer."
Noymer did acknowledge there are still risks, even with safety protocols in effect.
"Even assuming everyone masks, how do you eat cotton candy or a snowcone through a mask?" Noymer told The Times. "There will be some unmasking, at least partly."
The petition, which was started Thursday, calls for Disneyland to reschedule any park opening to an undisclosed later date "when cases of COVID- 19 drop and health officials state it is safer for everyone but to still practice social distancing."