Around the world, people quarantined in their homes are looking forward to a future where they can once again visit theme parks after the threat of COVID-19 has passed. However, there are a lot of things to consider, especially for Disney, as social distancing guidelines from local and federal government officials continue to evolve as the situation changes. Recently, California’s Governor Newsom put together a task force for reopening California with approximately 80 members on board, including former Disney CEO Bob Iger. And while Iger might not officially be in charge anymore, we know he is still calling a lot of shots for Disney, which is why we could't help but pay attention when he made some recent comments about Disney Parks reopening.
More than just social distancing
In a recent interview with a local news station, Iger spoke about his input with the task force, and stated that when looking at reopening procedures, a lot of thought will be going in to making people feel safe from getting the virus, which is a complicated thing, and according to Iger, the biggest obstacle that will need to be figured out. And while Universal parks are trying to figure out a way to keep social distancing measures in effect inside its parks, Iger believes that the answer isn't as simple as just keeping guests away from each other, as a number of procedures will need to be implemented to make sure that people feel safe.
One of the more obvious enhanced procedures that will be necessary in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic will be increased hygiene, according to Iger, but he also mentioned that until there is mass testing, at scale, and some form of contact tracing as well (so that people who have been exposed or people who have had the virus and may be of harm to others can be identified), an opening would be improbable. Of course, once a reliable treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 is found, such measures will no longer be needed, but in a world where COVID-19 is still a threat, even a reduced one, much will be required of both businesses and local governments to keep people as safe as possible.
Bob Iger echoed these sentiments again at a recent NBA owners meeting, and stated that the emphasis for Disney at this point involves looking at the data, and not any potential dates for reopening or scheduling any events.