COVID-19

Disney theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong are closed due to coronavirus

Jasmine Garsd Feb 4, 2020
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Disney closed down its Hong Kong and Shanghai parks due to the spread of the coronavirus. Ayaka McGill/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Disney theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong are closed due to coronavirus

Jasmine Garsd Feb 4, 2020
Disney closed down its Hong Kong and Shanghai parks due to the spread of the coronavirus. Ayaka McGill/AFP via Getty Images
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The spread of coronavirus has led Disney to close both its Shanghai and Hong Kong parks until further notice, a move that will likely have an effect on its profits this quarter.

The entertainment business is notoriously fickle. But John Gerner, a leisure industry expert at Leisure Business Advisors, said theme parks are generally more stable than movie or TV. But that’s been reversed, here.

The spread of the coronavirus means tens of thousands of people won’t be visiting two of Disney’s major theme parks in Asia. According to Olivier Ponti, vice president of insights at travel analytics company ForwardKeys, this will affect more than just Disney.

“A crisis of this magnitude, can send ripples across the whole tourism ecosystem,” Ponti said. “China is the world’s number one market in terms of travel spending.”

The epidemic began raging in the middle of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which is peak tourist season. But Disney is used to weathering crises. And weathering weather crises, said Gerner of Leisure Business Advisors.

“It’s similar to a situation that theme parks deal with all the time, with weather,” he said. “Suddenly, you’ll have a particularly bad weather period — the park underperforms or may even have to close.”

Unlike stormy weather, the coronavirus has captured global attention, and it’s not clear when it will pass. The virus has also shut down nearly every movie theater in China — that’s around 70,000 screens that won’t be showing Disney movies.

“At this point its really hard to quantify what the impact will be, from a financial perspective,” said Tuna Amobi, an analyst with CFRA Research. “It’s going to depend on how much, how long this closure remains.”

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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