Disneyland Paris to close again as France orders second virus lockdown

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's Disneyland theme park in Paris will close again as France heads back into lockdown to fight a second wave of coronavirus infections, the company said on Thursday.

Disneyland Paris shut down in March, when the virus was rampant in Europe, and reopened in July.

The park will shut down at the end of the day on Thursday.

Under French measures that take effect on Friday, people will be required to stay in their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention or exercise for up to one hour a day. They will be permitted to go to work if their employer deems it impossible for them to do the job from home. Schools will stay open.

Disney said the company hoped to reopen Disneyland Paris for the holiday season from Dec. 19 to Jan. 3. A decision will be made "based on prevailing conditions and government guidance at that time," the company said in a statement.

The park will be closed from Jan. 4 through Feb. 12. The Paris resort normally is shut during that time of year.

Disney's parks in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Florida remain open with attendance limits and other safeguards to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Disneyland in California has been closed since March.

Theme park operators have argued that the state's reopening guidelines are too restrictive and have urged officials to let them resume operations with safety measures.

Disney announced in September that it was laying off 28,000 workers, most of them at U.S. theme parks. The company reported in August that COVID-19 had wiped out $3.5 billion in operating profit in its parks, experiences and products division.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)