Visitors walk Monday through the Shanghai Disneyland theme park, which has reopened after a prolonged closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Shanghai, China. Photo by Zhou You/EPA-EFE
May 11 (UPI) -- Shanghai Disneyland began a phased reopening on Monday but with social distancing and other safety measures in place, more than three months after it closed due to the coronvirus pandemic.
Thousands of people gathered outside the gates before Monday's reopening and streamed into the park for the first time since Jan. 25.
All visitors were required to wear face coverings and submit to temperature screenings as part of the new safety requirements at the Shanghai theme park, the first of Disney's six worldwide resorts to reopen since the outbreak began.
"We hope that today's reopening serves as a beacon of light across the globe, providing hope and inspiration to everyone," Shanghai Disneyland President Joe Schott told reporters, adding that most of the park's rides, restaurants and shows will be open.
During the initial reopening phase, Disney is limiting the 80,000-capacity park to 20 percent and is requiring advanced ticketing. Social distancing measures remain to mitigate the potential spread in queues, restaurants, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park.
Parades and nighttime events will not yet resume, however, and Disney characters like Mickey Mouse are prohibited from "close interaction and close-up photos" with visitors.
Chinese economists see the park's reopening of as an important step in reviving the tourism industry as the nation moves into a new phase of COVID-19 prevention and control.
Visitors wear face masks as they tour the Whitney Museum of American Art as it reopens on September 3. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo