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 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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