The employees and fans of Disneyland recently had a rally to encourage California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen the park.
A group of Disneyland employees and fans joined together on Saturday morning to hold a rally outside the shuttered Southern California theme park in an effort to urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue reopening guidance.
Around 8 a.m. a group of more than 20 showed up (wearing masks) with signs demanding Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood be allowed to reopen, video from local news coverage shows. Both destinations have been shuttered since mid-March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, both parks’ shopping and dining districts have been opened since the summer, allowed under the state’s county case tier system. Downtown Disney has been immensely popular, parking for the district having been halted numerous times over the weekends to control the flow of visitors due to the decreased capacity allowance.
The battle to reopen the SoCal theme parks has been an ugly one, coming to a boiling point last month when Disney drew a line in the sand and essentially demanded Newsom offer a path to reopening. The governor did not budge. A week later, Disney announced it was laying off 28,000 employees (mostly from Disneyland, but also a portion from Disney World), and Disney chairman Bob Iger resigned from the state’s economic coronavirus task force.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Disney World is open for business…with no reported outbreaks associated with the park.
As tumultuous as the three months since the reopening have been, however, public health officials and Disney World’s unions say there have been no coronavirus outbreaks among workers or guests. So far, Disney’s wide-ranging safety measures appear to be working.
“We have no issues or concerns with the major theme parks at this point,” said Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, which includes Disney World.
Disney declined to say how many Disney World employees had tested positive for the coronavirus since the resort reopened. In phone interviews, union leaders said cases had been minimal.
“We’ve had very few, and none, as far as we can tell, have been from work-related exposure,” said Eric Clinton, president of UNITE HERE Local 362, which represents roughly 8,000 attraction workers and custodians.
I will point out that one “expert” said the Disney World reopening was a “terrible idea” and “inviting disaster.”
Despite this success, Disneyland is still closed. California officials have just issued new “guidance”…allowing the large theme parks to reopen when their counties achieve the elusive “Tier 4” COVID19-Guideline rating.
“There is a path forward. We don’t know when, but we know how” the parks will reopen, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services.
The protocols announced Tuesday allow a large park, defined as one with a capacity of more than 15,000 visitors, to reopen once coronavirus transmission in its home county has fallen enough for the county to reach Tier 4 — the state’s least-restrictive designation.
A small park, meanwhile, can welcome guests once its home county reaches Tier 3, the second-least-restrictive level.
Ghaly laid out some other restrictions, as well: All parks must sell tickets in advance to make contact tracing easier, and face coverings will be mandatory except when eating or drinking.
Large theme parks will be limited to 25% capacity.
In response, Disneyland Resort’s President Ken Potrock blasted state officials, saying the reopening guidelines are ‘unworkable.’
Disney has attacked California Governor Newsom for his ‘arbitrary’ COVID guidelines that will keep Disneyland ‘shuttered for the foreseeable future’, after the state announced further delays to reopening large theme parks Tuesday.
Disneyland Resort’s President Ken Potrock blasted state officials in a statement Tuesday saying the reopening guidelines are ‘unworkable’ and will force ‘thousands more people out of work’.
…Potrock launched a public attack on state officials Tuesday, releasing a statement admonishing the latest reopening rules.
‘We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world,’ he said.
‘Nevertheless the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a higher standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities.
I might suggest that Disneyland’s executives and employees opt for less progressive politicians when they vote in the future.
In conclusion, California is the unhappiest place on Earth. In fact, as an homage to its newly opened Star Wars Attraction, I say: “If there’s a bright center to the United States, you’re in the state that it’s farthest from.”
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