Furloughed Disney employees called back to work as company eyes Apr. 2021 park reopening

With California clearing the way for parks to reopen, and Orange County heading inching closer to moving up to the less-restrictive red tier, Disney and California Adventure are set to open at the end of April, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced on Tuesday.

"I am so happy," says one employee, who adds he feels comfortable going back.

"I visited Downtown Disney, saw what they are doing, and feel confident that the company is making it work" explains Tim Bachman, who has worked for the park for over 15 years. "I hope to be able to get the vaccine soon. But even if I didn’t, I feel safe going back to work"

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Disney CEO anticipates reopening Disneyland by late April; 10K furloughed employees to return to work

The only ones happier than the Disney employees are the business owners around the park. The owner of one gift shop, who didn’t want his name on camera, explains they are barely hanging on, having lost more than 85% of their business.

At the same time, he adds that he may not make it -  15% capacity is not a lot of people, especially when they are not from out of state. Those are the visitors that would get the hotels back to reopen and the tourism cash wagon to get rolling again.  

Still, we did find one new business taking over a recently closed storefront. A restaurant with owners betting that things will turn around sooner than later. Byrd's Hot Chicken employees were "stoked" to hear the news while putting finishing touches on the wall décor and learning new recipes.

No word on a date, but sometimes around the 20th is the word of mouth making its way down the gossip in social media. First, those furloughed employees will have to learn new health directives and techniques. Bachman saying "I can’t wait!"

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