The Tokyo Disney Resort has just announced that both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will remain closed for the duration of March, and are expected to resume operations in early April.
Universal Studios Japan has also announced that they will close until March 22, 2020, but the re-opening date could change depending on the situation and what the government says.
The Grand Opening of a new area in Tokyo Disneyland has also been pushed to mid May 2020, but could take longer.
The Grand Opening of this area was scheduled for April 15, 2020, and it will feature the Beauty and the Beast castle as well Belle’s village. Here, guests will be able to enjoy the main attraction the castle, a full-scale indoor theater, and the many shops and restaurants in the village.
The Tokyo Disney Resort had first announced that the parks would close from February 29 to March 15, 2020. However, as the numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases continue to climb, the resort opted to remain closed for the safety of their guests and cast members.
The Tokyo Disney Resort has also stated that people who have park tickets and fixed date tickets will be able to receive a refund. The park tickets and fixed date tickets that are eligible are those that have valid admissions from February 29 to May 31, 2020. Additionally, Campus Day Passports and Corporate Program “Thanks Festival” Passports with fixed admissions periods from January 6 to Mach 19, 2020 are also eligible.
However, depending on the location one purchased their tickets, the the refund process and whom to contact will be different
What’s more, the expiration date of Annual Passports will also be extended.
The Tokyo Disney Resort has announced that, as of March 11, 2020, the sale of fixed date tickets would be suspended. However, the sale of Annual Passports and tickets without a fixed date will continue.
Japan has come under international criticism for their handling of the coronavirus outbreak. While multiple countries that have been hit by the virus carry out tests and measures to try to contain it, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government was quite slow to respond before implementing lax measures that critics say will only result in the country seeing a wider number of confirmed cases.
Japan has over 500 confirmed cases (plus the 696 ones from the Diamond Princess), but there is fear that Japan’s numbers are just the tip of the iceberg since tests have not been carried out proactively.
To make things worse, people have not been cooperating with the government requests. After people started reselling masks online at exorbitant prices, the Japanese government had to ask them to stop and websites to block the sales. Later on, the government announced on March 10 that resellers could be punished with up to a 1-million yen fine or one year in prison.
A man in Yamanashi Prefecture also lied to the government after having tested positive for COVID-19. The man in his 60s had initially told authorities that he had not been in contact with any people. However, it was later confirmed that he had worked at a 7-Eleven and that he could have come in contact with eight people, including employees from the convenience store. It was the company the one that reported this to the prefectural government after the employee contacted the 7-Eleven he had worked at to tell the branch owner that he had tested positive for the virus.
The government announced that without cooperation from patients it would be hard to prevent further infections. However, there were no announcements as to whether patients that lied would face any kind of punishment.
Schools across Japan also remain closed after Prime Minister Abe requested all elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools to close from March 2 to the end of the spring vacation due to the threat caused by COVID-19 and as experts announced that the first two weeks of March would be essential if Japan wanted to curve the number of confirmed cases. However, Abe’s decision was met with mixed feelings as parents wondered how exactly they were going to be able to work while having their kids at home. Working mothers, in particular, were left feeling that the measure had assumed all women were homemakers.
Abe’s announcement also led to the spread of false rumors that led people to believe that there was going to be a scarcity of toilet paper, tissues, and other paper products since factories were going to increase production of face masks. As a result of this, people started buying toilet paper and tissues and hoarding them, leading to a shortage of products in stores just a few hours after opening.
The initial announcement that Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea would close was met with incredible shock since it was something not seen since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami commonly known as the 3.11 earthquake.
When the Tokyo Disney Resort announced that they would close the parks until March 15, 2020, citizens who had not paid close attention to the coronavirus outbreaks or who had dismissed it as something that was not as serious as SARS, MERS, or the common flu began to understand just how grave the situation was.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has refused to call the COVID-19 outbreaks a pandemic, instead stating that the outbreak becoming a pandemic was “very likely” despite multiple health care experts and epidemiologists stating that the world was indeed experiencing a pandemic.
However, as of March 12, 2020 Japan Time, the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
This delayed decision came as the World Health Organization recorded 118,326 confirmed cases and 4,292 deaths on their March 11, 2020 situation report. The numbers continue to rise each day.
The World Health Organization has been observed to use the word “pandemic” more carefully. A recent example occurred during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. In this particular case, the World Health Organization officially declared the disease a pandemic on June 11, 2009 despite the disease having been spreading and killing people for months. When the World Health Organization declared the influenza a pandemic, 74 countries had already reported 27,737 cases and 141 deaths.