Should Disneyland Reopen? Disney Responds To California Governor's Delayed Theme Park Opening Plans

Update: After California governor Gavin Newsom’s comments that there was “no hurry” to put out guidelines for the reopening of theme parks and that the state will “let science and data make that determination,” which you can read below, both Disney and the California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA) in statements provided to GameSpot.

Firstly, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products chief medical officer Dr. Pamela Hymel said in a statement, “We absolutely reject the suggestion that reopening the Disneyland Resort is incompatible with a ‘health-first’ approach. The fact is, that since March we have taken a robust science-based approach to responsibly reopening our parks and resorts across the globe. Our health and safety protocols were developed in consultation with epidemiologists and data scientists, and after considering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and experts in local government and health agencies. All of our other theme parks both in the United States and around the world have been allowed to open on the strength of our proven ability to operate with responsible health safety protocols.”

CAPA executive director Erin Guerrerro said in a statement of her own that Newsom’s “‘no big rush’ approach is ruining businesses and livelihoods for thousands who could responsibly be back at work.” She continued, “When the Newsom Administration agreed not to finalize draft guidance that was floated last week, the governor’s staff committed to work with the theme park industry. We hoped their commitment to working with us was genuine, that we’d finally work diligently and collaboratively on guidance to allow amusement parks to responsibly reopen within a reasonable timeframe. We agree that science and data should guide safety decisions, but keeping amusement parks closed indefinitely when there are no known outbreaks being traced back to reopened amusement parks worldwide is unreasonable.”

The original story is below.

The war over whether or not Disneyland should reopen rages on. After Disney announced it was laying off 28,000 employees, partially blaming California’s refusal to allow theme parks to reopen, the state has yet to budge. In fact, California governor Gavin Newsom hinted that it may be some time before theme parks are allowed to reopen in California.

Speaking to the media, per The Hollywood Reporter, Newsom said, “We don’t anticipate in the immediate term any of these larger parks opening until we see more stability in terms of the data. We feel there’s no hurry to put out guidelines, and we continue to work with the industry.”

Newsom’s comments come after Disney chairman Bob Iger resigned from the state’s economic task force. However, according to the governor, “It didn’t come as a surprise to me at all. There are disagreements about opening a major theme park.”

As for how for the state plans to approach such an opening, Newsom said, “We’re going to let science and data make that determination.” It was previously reported by the Orange County Register that the state was prepared to issue its guidelines for reopening theme parks last week. However, according to THR, that fell through when the California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA) asked that plans not be finalized until they previewed them. According to a statement, CAPA did not support all of the state’s proposed requirements.

“While we are aligned on many of the protocols and health and safety requirements, there are many others that need to be modified if they are to lead to a responsible and reasonable amusement park reopening plan,” the statement reads. “We ask the Governor not to finalize guidance for amusement parks before engaging the industry in a more earnest manner, listening to park operators’ expertise, and collaborating with the industry on a plan that will allow for amusement parks to reopen responsibly while still keeping the health and safety of park employees and guests a top priority.”

Meanwhile, Orange County, which is home to Disneyland Resort and the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, is reportedly asking the state to approve the parks reopening early. “Disneylands have opened across the world and have not seen any spikes in COVID,” Orange County supervisor Lisa Bartlett said, according to a Southern California ABC affilitate. “And they have significant health and safety protocols… We are collectively pushing, pushing, pushing to have that done sooner rather than later.”

The protocols in place at Disney World include temperature checks, required mask use unless you’re eating, decreased capacity, and partitions throughout the parks, creating a barrier between employees and guests. Social distancing is also encouraged between guests, with line queues clearly marking six-foot spaces between individuals.

As it stands now, it looks like California’s theme parks will remain closed for the time being.

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