Magic still eludes Shanghai Disneyland with new closure

 Thursday, December 1, 2022 


Almost as soon as Shanghai Disneyland reopened to the public last week, the gates to the Magic Kingdom slammed shut once again due to China’s COVID-19 restrictions.

The theme park came out of a monthlong hiatus on Friday, much to the delight of visitors.

China was logging record new infections and some cities were under lockdown and the country saw rare nationwide protests against COVID-19 curbs as Disneyland opened.

But with relatively low cases in Shanghai compared with Beijing and other megacities, the park decided to resume operations.

Vibrancy had returned to the park, which was full of families and other guests.

One father at the park said that he, like many others in China, wanted to go somewhere to for some fun even at the risk of getting infected with the coronavirus.

The magic did not last, however. At 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the day after winter-themed festivities were launched, Shanghai Disneyland posted a notice about the latest closure on a Chinese social media site.

In order to follow the requirement of pandemic prevention and control, Shanghai Disneyland will be temporarily closed, the statement said.

The park’s long closures, typical of the country’s leisure and tourism industry during the pandemic, are certain to hurt the economy further and depress consumer appetite to spend.

While cases in Shanghai more than doubled in the week through Tuesday, the total was still just 187.

Yet the theme park operator decided to shut down operations once again, apparently not wanting to relive the nightmare it experienced on Halloween.

Shanghai Disneyland announced its previous closure abruptly during operating hours on Oct. 31, trapping visitors inside until they returned a negative coronavirus test.

People who had visited the park in the preceding days were also required to stay home, as well as residents of apartment buildings where visitors lived.

Authorities face a delicate balance of disease prevention and the need to address public frustration of such curbs and economic damage.

Long-term lockdown has a severe impact on production and everyday life, so modification is necessary, said an officer with the National Health Commission, which oversees COVID-19 measures, on Tuesday.

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