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Walt Disney World is on the slow path toward reopening its theme parks once again, but when mid-July rolls around, one thing we know for sure is that the resort won't look exactly like it did back before the shutdown. The same is true of Disney Springs, Walt Disney's World's marketplace area, which has already seen limited reopening. While most of the shops and restaurants that make up Disney Springs are back up and running, one location is not, and it apparently won't be opening any time soon either.
WDW Magic is reporting that one small Disney Springs location, The Pearl Factory, is permanently closed, making it likely the first victim of the financial toll that the closure took on many businesses. The location let customers choose an oyster and then get a piece of unique jewelry made from the pearl.
Ever since the closure of retail locations like Disney Springs took place, there's been an ongoing battle between safety and commerce. The closure of businesses around the country meant a loss of income for millions of people, whether they were a business owner or an employee. At some point, every business is going to get to the point where being closed becomes more expensive than closing down. That appears to be what happened with The Pearl Factory.
Disney Springs opened on May 20 to limited capacity, requiring masks of guests. Disney-owned locations like the World of Disney store followed on May 27. The theme parks will open in July with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom scheduled to open July 11, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios following July 15.
With most of the rest of Disney Springs now up and running, that hopefully means that the rest of the locations at the marketplace are safer. Of course, with the limiting of attendance at Disney Springs, and the fact that many might not yet be ready to venture out, there's still some potential that businesses could end up going under. With so many others still out of work, there simply isn't going to be as much disposable income to spend at Disney Springs restaurants or other stores.
Whether or not there is a second wave of COVID-19, there is a second "wave" that will be a result of it, which is the economic impact of the shutdown. Analysts have predicted that theme parks like Walt Disney World and Disneyland won't begin to recover simply be reopening. With the recession that is resulting from mass unemployment, there simply aren't going to be as many people taking multi-day theme park vacations as there would have been had this never happened. The expectation is it could take years to climb out the other side.
Theme parks will likely all be open before too long, but it's far from clear what sort of business they'll be opening up to or how long it will take before things feel "normal" again.