Disneyland reopened in California to excited visitors after a 412 day closure in what tourism officials hope is a sign of the state's rebound from the pandemic.
The reopening cam just four months after the nation's most populous state was struggling a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Some visitors cheered and screamed with happiness as they entered Disneyland as park employees wear face coverings around the park.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek thanked the color guard for raising the flag daily throughout the 412-day closure and asked employees to “bring the magic back” for visitors about to enter the park.
“We’re not just another place. We’re not just another theme park. We’re something special and we’re something special because of all of you, because you bring magic to the world,” he said.
For now, the park is allowing only in-state visitors and operating at limited capacity. The park now has hand sanitizing stations and signs reminding visitors to keep their distance and wear masks. Benches are marked as “designated dining areas” where visitors can remove face coverings to eat.
"It has such a symbolic nature to really quantifying that we’re finally rolling out of COVID,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of the state tourism agency Visit California.
Now, children are returning to school, shops and restaurants are expanding business and Gov. Gavin Newsom set June 15 as a target date to further reopen the economy, albeit with some health-related restrictions.
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