Don't Blame Disney for Reopening

July 9, 2020, 2:34 PM · After a couple of days of cast member previews, Walt Disney World's two most-visited theme parks welcomed back annual passholders today for the first of two days of AP previews.

Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom reopen to the public Saturday, followed by Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios next week, on July 15. Disney's launched a PR blitz in advance of the parks' return, trying to educate the public on all the new health and safety procedures at the parks.

Temperature screening
All guests will have to pass a temperature screening to enter a theme park, hotel, or the Disney Springs dining and shopping district. Photos courtesy Disney

But plans for reduced capacity to promote safe physical distancing, temperature checks to bar entry to obviously ill people, required face masks, more frequent cleaning of surfaces, the addition of hand sanitizer stations throughout the parks, installation of Plexiglass barriers, and the promotion of mobile ordering, mobile check-ins and contactless payments have not kept countless Disney fans and other observers from insisting that it's not safe for Walt Disney World to be reopening. Not when Florida leads the nation in per-capita new cases of Covid-19.

Hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer will be provided at all attractions.

The critics are 100 percent correct to note that Florida is a dangerous environment for infections right now. But that's exactly why Disney is implementing all these new procedures. If it was as safe to go out in Central Florida as it was six months ago, all that Plexiglass and the new Disney Park Pass advance reservation system would not be necessary.

Physical distancing
Disney has installed floor markings to note safe physical distancing in queues.

Disney itself is telling people that there's a risk in returning. On its website, Walt Disney World notes, "An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present."

So why is Disney reopening, then?

Because, unless Disney is planning to get out of the theme park business and potentially throw millions of people out of work as a result, it will have to reopen sometime. And if the state of Florida is permitting the resort to reopen, now is as good a time as any to start that process.

Reduced ride capacity
Guests will be spaced on rides to provide safe physical distancing.

Can't Disney wait until it's safer? Sure, it could - but, please, tell me exactly when that will be?

What happens if there is no vaccine?

What happens if there is, but it's less than, say, 50 percent effective, and millions of Americans continue to be infected?

What happens if the vaccine works, but it's priced at $1,000 a dose, and a majority of Americans either can't afford or refuse to get it?

What happens if the vaccines works and it's affordable, but it takes years to get enough doses to distribute it to a critical mass of Americans?

All of these hypotheticals are real possibilities at this moment. And they might be more real than the possibility of discovering and deploying a vaccine to achieve herd immunity within even the next 12 months. So Disney, and other theme parks, need to figure out a way to operate in this environment, at least until we get some hope that we might one day move into another, more inherently safe one.

Contactless payment
Guests will be encouraged to use cashless and contactless payment at stores and restaurants

That's what is happening at the Walt Disney World Resort this week. This is Disney's shot to show the world what the theme park industry can do to operate as safely as possible in the current environment. But will the combination of new safety procedures and shorter-than-ever waits, due to capacity controls, be enough to attract a profitable audience once again?

Mobile check-in
Guests can order food at quick service restaurants and check in at table service ones, using the official My Disney Experience app.

Disney can control only what happens on its own property. All that Plexiglass and physical distancing won't bring the parks back to profitability if people are getting sick - or even just fearing that - on the plane or on the road to Disney. Disney's reopening won't help anyone - including Disney - if it draws people out of their homes, only to get sick at some point during their trip... and the those guests spread that sickness back in their home communities.

If you want someone to blame for this awful reality, don't blame Disney for trying its best to operate in this environment. Blame instead the administration in Washington and its media allies for turning masks into a culture war issue and providing zero leadership on containing this virus, making America one of the worst-performing nations in the world for controlling Covid-19. Blame the state of Florida for dragging its feet on stay-at-home orders, testing, contact tracing, unemployment compensation, mask requirements and pretty much every other opportunity it had to manage this outbreak in the state.

In an ideal world, theme parks would not be open during an active pandemic because elected leaders would have done everything in their power to contain and curtail that pandemic before it became the world's new way of life. They didn't. And now Disney is left to do what it can to try to salvage some value from its theme park business, and to provide the people who are willing to visit some measure of comfort in this horrible moment in time.

If you are legally allowed, whether you choose to visit right now is - as always - up to you. But don't blame Disney for trying its best to welcome you back.

Replies (65)

July 9, 2020 at 2:48 PM

Once more, had we a coordinated effort for nationwide shelters and masks in March, right now, not only would we have about 100,000 less deaths but at a point where folks could gather safely in movie theaters or even sports stadiums. For proof, look at New Zealand.

Instead, folks took shelter orders as literally tyranny, masks compared to having a star on your clothing, not understanding short-term shutdowns much better for long-term economic recovery and our leaders refusing to accept this is even actually happening and brushing off "inflated numbers." Future historians will be shaking their heads at how badly this was all bungled to make what could have been a brief hardship into a total world-changing disaster.

July 9, 2020 at 3:28 PM

I don’t blame any business for trying to operate. It’s really easy for people to lecture others about staying home, closing their businesses and putting themselves and their employees out of work. I say to these armchair QBs, Walk a mile in their shoes before presuming to know what is best for them.

In addition to the real responsible party (has everyone forgotten where this came from?) I’m putting the blame on the media for this mess. Everyone is racing to get some sort of story out there and positioning it as fact, meanwhile the “experts” don’t have all the facts. Every day we hear something different. Every day we hear that the virus was here earlier than first reported. Everyday we hear doom and gloom, numbers that are skewed or not fully reported, and then there’s the mask issue. Some are scared out of their minds, some are ignorant, and now many simply don’t trust what they are hearing.

Add to that it’s an election year, which means every little thing is politicized. Every.Little.Thing. It’s politicized in the media and in Washington, and it’s disgusting. I don’t blame government for the virus response. There isn’t an administration in modern history that’s had to deal with something on this scale with no time, especially in light of the global connectivity and media saturation we now have. This is still America, we still have rights and freedom of choice and they have to be preserved no matter what. Hiding under a rock and waiting for the boogeyman to go away isn’t an option. It will only make things worse.

So I say open the doors and try to make it go. We have to get through this, and believe it or not, this too shall pass. Let the people make their own choice. Be safe and be smart, and if you are sick or scared, stay home.

I wish Disney and all the rest good luck and good fortune with their reopenings. I’m pretty sure I’ve had this thing months ago, so If I hear tell of empty parks that are open I’ll be there. I have a feeling they will be pretty full though.

July 9, 2020 at 3:38 PM

I don't know how many clicks this website gets. But for the people who do read Derek's comment please do not take that as possible truth.

Take most other countries around the world, no one has messed this up more then the Trump Administration.
I could make a giant list of all the things that the TRUMP Team did wrong compared to every other country that has gotten this under control. We are the only country to have this giant wave cases and soon to be deaths. TRUMP should walk a mile in every middle class person for presuming to know what's best for them.

July 9, 2020 at 3:47 PM

@DerekPotter: Putting quotation marks around "experts" is not helping your case. The reason they change is because there's a lot about this virus still unknown which happens all the time. Also, many of their early predictions were based on the naive notion folks would be rational and accept distancing, shelter, masks etc and not a governor fine letting beaches open at Spring Break during all this and other spots refusing to accept it as so bad.

And with few exceptions (Sweden, Brazil, UK) much of the rest of the world handled this much better than the U.S. who still refuse to accept the rising numbers as a big deal.

July 9, 2020 at 3:56 PM

Another quality opinion from you, Robert, though two points you didn't mention.

1. By opening, Disney is contributing to the spread. Hosting social gatherings, even if you take the right precautions, creates an arena for people to catch the virus. More importantly, we all know there is no safe way to be inside with other people, even if they're spaced, even if they're masked. One super-spreader on Haunted Mansion could conceivably infect dozens drafting in the airflow he leaves behind.

2. By opening, Disney is putting their employees at risk. I guess grocery stores are, as well, but then we need food, it's an essential service. Putting lives at risk so that people can ride roller coasters seems very different, seems like maybe the buck is more important than employee lives.

Also: I appreciate Disney's business is hurting, but given their billions and billions of profits, I think my sympathies lie more with their employees and stopping the spread than with further enriching their coffers.

Finally: the media is not to blame for this catastrophe. The blame lies firmly with our inept President and his criminal party. Their consummate failure to do one simple thing--require people to wear masks--has ruined this entire year, destroyed our economy and killed tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of people who would have otherwise survived. Their sick obsession with corporations, instead of people, is the cause of this ridiculous, disgusting situation.

July 9, 2020 at 4:26 PM

There is no perfect answer in this unprecedented situation that the entire globe is facing. Theme parks today are in a position where they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Of course, the Walt Disney Company should not be blamed for moving forward with opening. They are a business that must do all it can do to continue operation in the best and safest way possible. There are consequences with either choice they make, but the realization that the end of this terrible pandemic is nowhere in sight has put them in a no win situation. They have to figure a way to operate knowing the risks and try their absolute best to keep their guests safe. As guests and theme park fans, we may not or may not like it, but at the end of the day it is our decision to head back.
About a week or two ago an article was written on this site discussing Six Flags and the Facebook ad situation. Within that article was written that the editor of this site is choosing to be more pro-active in eliminating hateful commentary. I completely agree that there is no place for hateful comments and they should absolutely be discarded and I agree that it is the site owner's responsibility to remove any form of that nonsense. With that said, I also feel that the editor should avoid certain topics that are going to generate the kind of spiteful commentary that is really becoming prevalent on this site. I understand this is an opinion piece and I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the writer's assessment. I do however see that this article is going to create a lot of bad blood on the commentary.
This is a theme park site that was one of the great places to see the curtain lifted a little bit on some of the most magical places on Earth. I was driven to this site a long time ago after spending my college years working at a theme park in Tampa, FL. Hearing about inside stories, upcoming events, and member ideas was one of the reasons this site was one of my all-time favorites. A couple weeks ago a story was written revisiting the day that changed the future of theme parks; the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I sure do miss those stories.
I get that it is hard to ignore the climate in today's world. It is sad that it is bleeding into our favorite escapes that are theme parks. This site for years was my escape from the news and fighting over who is right and who is wrong. I miss when the only fight on this website was "Disney or Universal". Unfortunately it has gone a stray. I'll still check in from time to time but Robert I hope that one day you will bring this site back to its roots and I can truly enjoy the stories from a theme park insider.

July 9, 2020 at 4:47 PM

Well said Mr usual.

July 9, 2020 at 5:40 PM

MikeW the UK has handled this far better than the US, though certainly not as good as new zealand and some other countries. Infections in the UK have fallen and continued to do so dramatically, the uk was in lockdown for over 3 months, similar to the rest of europe, and we have not had an increase in cases like parts of the US, because we haven’t come out of lockdown too early like the US did. Comparing the UK to sweden and brazil, countries that have virtually avoided lockdown, is just an insult to be honest. And other countries such as Belgium, have handled it far worse, than any. Get your facts right.

July 9, 2020 at 5:53 PM

I see a lot of focus on the holy mask but being from a country who is now almost completely back to normal (in a 1.5 meter distance way) we never used masks except when travel in public transportation after that becoming more crowded when more things opened.
Covid-19 was never political but was lead by experts in their field. There was, and stil is, a barrage of education going on. And there is the mantra: wash your hands, keep 2 arm length distance from each other and stay at home when you feel sick and contact a doctor and use your brain (aka don't be stupid).
Slowly things opened (much slower and later than in the US), every single department (restaurants or shops or hairdressers or whatever) got educated about what they had to do. Every single time when we gained a bit of freedom it was said with a disclaimer it could close as soon as infected raised.
We now have about 3 to 6 people a day that end up in a hospital and a few people die each day. Each of those death is tough and we are reminded every day to not let that happen. The Netherlands are 17 million people on 1/4th the land size of Florida (and still half of it is empty land).
The world is looking at the big US of A and wish them to do so much better as they are doing now, wish them better leaders, better education and a revolution to get out of this political system that is killing their own countrymen for profit.

July 9, 2020 at 6:49 PM

I'm sorry but what other country in the world launched people into freaking space during a global pandemic? That's right baby the USA!!

You can take your "stats" and measured approaches to managing the health of your citizens and shove it. The view from space tastes so sweet!

July 9, 2020 at 6:50 PM

The previous post was done completely in jest. Please don't kill me...

July 9, 2020 at 10:01 PM

Carlos: the issue is only political because American's pathetic president has made it political, and his propaganda unit, Fox News, has publicized his anti-science stance.

In every other country, in every thinking American's household, masks are de rigueur, they are used without question. Discussing the scientific necessity of masks is only "political" if you're one of the brainwashed folks who thinks a game show host knows more than America's best doctors and scientists.

It's like saying Robert shouldn't post about the Earth being round because flat-earthers are going to freak out. We can't ignore the truth just because one political party wants to deny reality.

July 9, 2020 at 7:36 PM

Shane, you could make an Argument one did handle it worse, but the counter argument would be Brazil didn’t really try.

I am kinda thankful I live in a part of a country where we’re on track to eliminate the virus thanks to the actions of two levels of government (although it looks like one’s now taken its eye off that goal.

In the US, unfortunately it looks like you have both a large portion of the population and too many in government who aren’t willing to do what it’s going to take to get there. I dunno, is it maybe a more selfish culture in general, is it a lack of good science and critical thinking education in some areas? Is it a media that is so utterly deregulated that dangerous and bad information is on par with good information? Would love to hear some thoughts from those there.

July 9, 2020 at 7:42 PM

The only blame goes to China and there Chinese Virus!

July 9, 2020 at 8:09 PM

Colonel: The mere mention of President Trump drives a very passionate response both for and against him. He is highly polarizing and both sides will argue back and forth using derogatory language and insults to express their positions.
My point was not a disagreement with Robert; he has all the freedom in the world to post his perspective. The consequence however is the negative back and forth that forces him to have to more aggressively police commentary for which I believed he did not want to have to do.
For me, I come here to see insider stories and perspectives about theme parks. Being, that is my expectation. Fighting between the left and right is happening on so many other platforms. It would be nice to come to a site where I could get away from that. This at one point was that site.
Robert is well within his right and he of course can post anything he wants. Maybe I just wanted to express that a few minutes to escape from the reality of this divided world would be welcomed. Isn’t that why we all came to this site in the first place?

July 9, 2020 at 8:49 PM

Robert, I enjoy your column but need to ask a favor. When you decide to stray from theme parks into politics, please give us a spoiler alert so we can decide whether or not to join you in the dark side. Something like this would do nicely.

To my loyal readers. I have decided to go off my meds for awhile and also have skipped a couple of anger management sessions. If you wish to read further, BUCKLE UP.

July 9, 2020 at 9:38 PM

All I wanna know is, when the cast members have to turn away someone at the gate, do they have to tell them to “have a magical day” ?

July 9, 2020 at 10:30 PM

Some good points above, but let's not forget to give China their fair share of the blame (they deserve the lion's share, actually) for this global disaster.

As for Disney reopening...virtually all businesses are reopening. If they don't they'll go under. How will that help anyone? It will just add to the economic devastation.

Based on everything that Disney is doing, the parks do look quite safe, as long as people do their part (e.g. follow the rules, wash their hands after rides, and not touch their face before doing so.)

Of course some people will never think it's "safe enough." They're welcome to stay home.

July 9, 2020 at 10:13 PM

Carlos, you write: "Fighting between the left and right is happening on so many other platforms. It would be nice to come to a site where I could get away from that. This at one point was that site."

Sure, but the point is there wouldn't be any "fighting between left and right" about masks, and the covid response generally, if the right hadn't taken the highly unreasonable position of denying science and attacking rational thinkers. Obviously, social distancing and other covid procedures are a _crucial, central issue_ in the theme park industry right now, so of course this site will cover those issues. That people on the right lose their minds over basic science--well, that's their sad fault.

@chadh Chad, the problem is painfully simple. The GOP uses Fox News and other far-right media outlets to pump powerful propaganda and disinformation into the minds of a third of Americans, many of whom live in states where for years the GOP has grossly underfunded public education. Under-educate them, bomb them with sophisticated, fear-based propaganda, and they'll believe you when you tell them science is a lie. Literally a third of our population is under their spell, bamboozled, not unlike the movie They Live except with racist one-percenters instead of aliens.

Someone above writes "Some good points above, but let's not forget to give China their fair share (which is the lion's share, actually) of the blame for this global disaster." Guess who's pushing that insane idea, and who's promoting it for them?

July 9, 2020 at 10:42 PM

Someone above writes "Some good points above, but let's not forget to give China their fair share (which is the lion's share, actually) of the blame for this global disaster." Guess who's pushing that insane idea, and who's promoting it for them?

The ENTIRE World, that's who!

July 9, 2020 at 11:59 PM

Colonel: With all due respect do you really think that it is only the right that is causing all of this because only they attack rational thought?? You are making a generalized statement there that is essentially grouping many folks unfairly. You just ripped the right for attacking others yet aren’t you doing the same thing in your statement?? C’mon man this is a website that is supposed to be dedicated to theme parks. This is what I am talking about with folks judging others and tossing insults towards one another. It creates unproductive dialogue and solves nothing. Sure the right has there culpability in this whole mess. They have made many mistakes that have costed lives that should still be here. But is the left really that innocent? How many people died in NYC unnecessarily which happens to be a city primarily ran by the left.
Political talk just goes back and forth because neither side can truly defend itself. For every gaffe and poor action the right takes, the left is right there to do its own blunders. This left versus right system is a joke and until we can open up our mindset and have good respectful conversation problems will always be handled poorly. At the end of the day it comes down to accountability and everyone wants to point it towards the opposite direction but themselves. There is blame to go around everywhere but that game solves nothing.
Colonel, your opinion may be spot on and you have your reasons for feeling the way you do and you have the right to voice it. This is the kind of conversation I would love to have over a beer at a local restaurant and not on a theme park forum.
For me, I don’t trust government officials much on any side. I just wake up everyday and do the best I can to support my family and make sure they are safe and healthy. If guidelines say a mask is going to keep me safer then dammit I’m going to wear it and so will my kids. That is my priority and that is my responsibility. I can’t control the decisions governments make nor do I have the answers so I’m not going to scream who’s fault this whole thing is. I can only hope that they will somehow figure this out. In the meantime, I will focus on my family being safe and happy as we navigate through this unfathomable reality

July 10, 2020 at 12:32 AM

"How many people died in NYC unnecessarily which happens to be a city primarily ran by the left."

As few as possible, because the Governor immediately shut the state, imposed mask requirements, and did all of the things that reasonable governments worldwide did to stop the virus, and look at their curve that's resulted.

Contrast that with America's curve, under the leadership of the GOP, which has mocked masks, opened prematurely, and even now is insisting we send out children back to school in the middle of a pandemic. This isn't a two sides thing. There's one side, SCIENCE, and then deluded fools on the right who care more about Trump's reelection than human life.

Sorry if you guys don't like to hear it, but the reason Disney parks in the US can't open like the ones in the rest of the world is exclusively the fault of our failed national leadership. The disease might have originated in China, but it took a self-interested American, one in particular, to cause the most serious pandemic in modern times to run unabated on our shores. We're doomed because of a single idiot and his MAGA death-cult acolytes. Trump makes Jim Jones look quaint by comparison.

July 10, 2020 at 12:32 AM

Well, if we are going to turn this into a partisan discussion:

Worst states/areas in per capita infections: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Arizona, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois. Eight blue states/areas, two red states/areas.

Worst states/areas in person capita deaths: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Michigan, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois. Eight blue states/areas, two red states/areas.

Now, tell me which party messed this up again? If the blue states’ leaders really thought the country’s current administration wasn’t doing enough to close down nor fast enough, they could have, and SHOULD have, done it on their own.

July 10, 2020 at 1:05 AM

Colonel: Total deaths in NY state 32,000. Next closest is CA with 6800. As few as possible is more than four times any other state. But the NY government handled that well? Thats a lot of deaths man. That can’t be ignored. My apologies, next highest was New Jersey 15k plus. Who governs that state?
Not arguing the right has had their problems but to think the left has been perfect is pretty bold

July 10, 2020 at 1:20 AM

NY got the disease first, when the least amount was known about it. But indeed, NY's numbers would have been better if Trump had acted faster to close the country to Europe and had offered a unified response. How many times did we hear Gov. Cuomo lamenting that NY had to bargain against other states for essential equipment because Trump refused to lead at the federal level? Every day for weeks.

But more importantly: Twobit and Carlos, do you believe the pandemic is over? I don't know if you've been keeping up on current events, but we just had our worst three days THIS WEEK. And the curve is going straight up! So if you want to talk about deaths, stand by, the numbers are about to go through the roof again, and this time in largely red states which opened prematurely.

Bottom line: we have one federal government, and it is run by a self-interested nimrod. Unlike the leaders of nearly ever other developed country, Trump did nothing to coordinate the response, and instead did what he always does, worried about himself. As a result of his malfeasance, and the malfeasance of GOP science-deniers all over the country, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people will die avoidable deaths. Those deaths are squarely on his pathetic orange hands. But for Lincoln and others who have had to take the country to war, no President has ever been responsible for more avoidable deaths.

But I'll let you lads get back to your Fox News talking points.

July 10, 2020 at 1:51 AM

Colonel: Once again, who’s doing the attacking here? You seem to be making an assumption about my beliefs and I have not once praised president trump or hailed Fox News. I don’t define myself as democrat or republican or conservative or liberal. I try my best to look at things with an open mind and aim to have a good constructive conversation.
You decided to call me out simply because I mentioned in a post that the nature of this article could provoke negative back and forths that has unfortunately become more common in this site. I didn’t attack Robert for his opinion on who’s to blame nor did I say he was wrong. I just expressed disappointment that another article has been posted that is going to generate meaningless argument that potentially leads to members being banned through ignorant postings.
Obviously colonel you feel pretty strong on your opinions and that is great. You are only a couple of months from voicing this where it counts and that’s at the ballot box. In the meantime you are likely not going to change people’s minds on a theme park thread. Some folks are going to disagree with you while others are going to applaud you.
By the way I know the pandemic is still here and I’m fully aware of the spikes going on in Florida as I reside here. Trying to throw shade this way is childish and simply imitates the behavior of the very person you’ve been lambasting.

July 10, 2020 at 2:14 AM

The fact that memes and gifs cannot be posted to this site is a real shame. It is 2020 right? Anyway this thread has been a real pleasure to read. Keep it going guys... I think you're close to solving America!

July 10, 2020 at 2:32 AM

The fact that memes and gifs cannot be posted to this site is a real blessing.

July 10, 2020 at 2:45 AM

There you are!

July 10, 2020 at 3:06 AM

There’s always the ole fashion way...

July 10, 2020 at 5:04 AM

I don’t think doing a capacitor if state by state infection/death rates an the moment is useful, because you’re still in the middle.

I think what we need to establish first what would we expect good to look like?

Let’s look at 2 scenarios:

A pandemic is identified, and the territory in question has a high infection rate. Can we all agree that “good” looks like making that rate go down and holding it down, or eliminating it completely?

A pandemic is identified, and the territory in question has a low/no infection rate. Can we all agree good looks like beeping the rate low, or eliminating even that low rate?

On that basis, which states have done good?

July 10, 2020 at 5:42 AM

My tribe is better than your tribe

<_< whee!

July 10, 2020 at 5:43 AM

Chad H: "I think what we need to establish first what would we expect good to look like?"

Me: Brilliant.

July 10, 2020 at 8:24 AM

Well, Well.... Covid-19 the Ride. Please hold on to the bar.

July 10, 2020 at 8:39 AM

"Please stand clear of the other guests."

“¡Por favor manténgase alejado de las turistas! Gracias!"

July 10, 2020 at 8:43 AM

New York and Cali definitely got ambushed; the virus was already there by December.

July 10, 2020 at 8:49 AM

LOL TH!!! I’m sure that spiel is being worked on now

July 10, 2020 at 10:49 AM

@TwoBits: As an Illinois resident, the fact we have the third largest city in the country would add to our totals.

But we have a governor who shut us down fast and kept it up through May with masks mandated. So now, while other states are reclosing, Illinois is in Phase 4 meaning indoor dining, businesses and libraries open and such and able to walk around Navy Pier again. Yes, masks are essential but the numbers are still holding well considering where they were a while ago. Other places have been praising Illinois as "one state that got it right" and an effort like this would mean much better response.

Again, look at New Zealand which did a big shutdown but now 20,000 people able to gather sans masks and distancing to enjoy rugby. That could be us with better leadership.

Not to mention if the pandemic response team hadn't been scattered two years ago, we would never have gotten to such a point in the first place.

July 10, 2020 at 10:49 AM

Being a true independent who hasn't voted for a major party candidate for president this century, I find it a really interesting discussion. Trump has done a terrible job. But government leaders on both sides of the aisle have succeeded and failed. Totally the fault of Fox News and Republicans?
If that is so, why isn't Disneyland open? California is a one party state totally run by Democrats where Trump got 31% of the 2016 vote. Why does CA continue to have an increase in deaths and hospitalizations? Most new cases are those who are between 20-34. Have you seen videos of bars? This group are most likely Bernie Sanders' supporters. Irresponsibility doesn't conform to party affiliation. Covid 19 doesn't have a political party. We all need to work together to lower the infection rate so those like me who are at the highest risk of mortality can visit DLR to see my friends who I worked with.

July 10, 2020 at 11:16 AM

@exsocal8: Okay, let's clear this up: Contrary to what many on both sides believe California is not a totally united liberal state. San Diego is quite conservative and Orange County too where their health director was forced to resign after open threats regarding her attempt on a mask mandate the rest of the board refused. This led to a "county by county" reopening which helped a new spread. It was doing well but these issues and push for reopening from certain areas led to a new spike.

Illinois may seem all Democratic but the southern part was fighting Pritzker on shelter/masks, including lawsuits which were thrown out. And he faced the same line of "just shelter Chicago and open other counties" which he refused so we're better than, say, Iowa who did "county by county" and it backfired.

July 10, 2020 at 11:47 AM

I can and will blame Disney for reopening. All theme park/recreational resort CEOs should be joining together to use their clout to demand federal relief for their businesses AND their employees. The idea that they must reopen is insane..both because it exacerbates the spread of the pandemic and overall will do little to save their financial losses (I'm guessing by fall or winter, barring a miracle cure, most parks will realize they lose less money staying closed than being open). This is absolutely due to a lack of leadership at the federal level as well. Meanwhile, Florida is becoming the next New York and many states are headed back to re-closing.

July 10, 2020 at 12:01 PM

People who like to engage in Monday morning quarterbacking forget one thing - this virus is unlike anything we've ever seen, so how can you blame the differing responses? South Korea and Taiwan had low cases, but they already had a mask culture and experience with previous pandemics, being so close to China. Singapore was praised for its initial response, yet had a second spike.

Japan and Sweden didn't shut down, Japan had low cases, Sweden had lower than expected. Forbes wrote about Sweden, "The result of the unique approach was less catastrophic than many predicted, despite the increased death rate. A new analysis of this approach finds it resulted in more deaths as predicted, but the overall picture is more nuanced and surprising." Nuance, that's something that's lacking in many people's opinions.

The one thing that Japan and Sweden had was people who were readily willing to comply with cautionary measures, which helped slow the spread. Americans were slower and less willing to comply, but we didn't have the experience of the Asian countries. I think people are now more willing to comply, although there is still some resistance. But again, you can't necessarily blame the government, it's the general culture that was slow to respond.

July 10, 2020 at 11:59 AM

Jefferson: "Can we get back to theme parks?"

Madison: "Please."

Jefferson: "Yo."

July 10, 2020 at 12:20 PM

Canadian here
We flattened the curve due to reasons already mentioned here such as leadership.
But its more than just leadership. it is also about coordination and communication between all levels of government to tackle this pandemic which in some areas of the USA I hate to say is sorely lacking. As well Canadian elected leaders actually check their egos in at the door and listen to the advise of our public health officials on what to do next as COVID evolves and changes.
In addition Canada severely curtailed and restricted travel between our provinces (what we call states up here) which helped stop the spread.
Btw we do cringe everytime that TWIT tweets *sigh*

July 10, 2020 at 12:16 PM

@Colonel: No, the pandemic is not over. I believe that we are heading toward another shutdown, and it would happen despite the action or inaction of any government entity. I find it difficult to believe these cities that are currently in their last phase of reopening will not see another outbreak, especially when we get into the colder winter months.

@MikeW: That is why I used the per capita statistic and not simply the total number.
I have family in southern Illinois, and they are quick to point out they are not Chicago. Still, the state is run by democrats due to the high Chicago population, and the point of my post was that finger pointing at our federal government run by conservatives can easily be put back on the liberal officials of blue states when you look at the statistics.

For those those who talk about how quickly Europe shut down: France, United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy all have more Covid deaths per capita than the U.S. does.

July 10, 2020 at 12:16 PM

@TH -

Burr - But I thought Tom was in France.

July 10, 2020 at 12:26 PM

Can we please stop bringing up Canada! You entire country has a population that is less California and the 228th most densely populated country, among the lowest in the entire world. I love Canada, I've grown up playing hockey there, but it is so spread out you barely have to try to social distance!

July 10, 2020 at 12:48 PM

Re: Mr Torrance

Nonetheless you seem to forget the majority of Canadians are clustered in communities close to the US border and hence we still need to social distance when we go to Walmart or Costco.

July 10, 2020 at 1:20 PM

@Mike W. This county reopening had to approved by the Director of the California State health department before it occurred. Her May 7th order allowed counties to go to phase 2 too early. Fault of the state government as it was the fault of the state government in many situations

July 10, 2020 at 1:28 PM

My biggest problem with the opening isn't that the idiots want to be in the parks, it's that annual passes are not being treated the same way as annual passes are in Shanghai. Shanghai passes are going to be extended for the amount of time from the full closure to when this reservation system ends. Why not for USA passes? It's not right.

I think people who want to be in this environment right now are nuts. There is no proof that opening Universal (and other places) in early June hasn't contributed to the explosion of cases in Central Florida. Just in Orange County we had relatively low numbers in until mid-June, when it jumped to 6000 cases, and now we're up to 16,000+.

Who is to blame? Start with King Orange and his minion Ron, and go from there.

Listen to Dr. Fauci: Stay away from crowds!

And wear a damned mask or stay home! I'm sick of hearing the "wearing a mask violates my constitutional rights" - you don't see people walking around naked, right? Because you're required to wear clothes, just like you're required to wear a mask. UGH.

July 10, 2020 at 2:10 PM

Blaming the Chinese for the current CoViD-19 situation in the USA is like a person blaming the caveman who invented fire for making their house burn down.

Sorry, it was all the oily rags and paint cans you stored next to the furnace that caused your problems.

And then sitting outside, refusing to let anybody throw water on the blaze, because it infringes on your freedom of rights to keep your personal items dry, probably isn't helping either.

July 10, 2020 at 2:13 PM

Drove Buena Vista Drive about an hour ago. The Skyliner is running and the restroom at the Speedway has never been so clean!

July 10, 2020 at 3:14 PM

Fire...Good Invention...Covid-19...BAAAAAAAAAAD

July 10, 2020 at 3:53 PM

I believe the premise of the article is valid; no business can just shut down and stay closed indefinitely. This is a matter of economics, employment (people need a paycheck) and even tax revenue (where do you think the money for unemployment checks comes from). It doesn't matter if we're talking about Disney or Robert's Radiator Store. The world stopped but can't stay stopped forever. Businesses have to figure out ways to operate again -- because there is no alternative.

The article strayed in the last three paragraphs and should not have been included unless the point was to provoke a segment of this audience. Robert's opinion may or may not end up being right in the future, but right now, his opinion is just his opinion (Maddow and Hannity have opinions too).

MSNBC, CNN and Fox are highly tailored to appeal to their respective audiences. One of those organizations may point out a "fact" that is indeed truthful, but then leave out another element of the story that gives a complete and balanced picture.

A balanced presentation would have been to point out mistakes have been made by federal, state and local officials. Each made decisions on the fly with the information they were given (some medical models turned out to be wrong but that was the information they had). They have been dealing with an historic event that none of them were/are equipped to handle.

Nobody on the planet had the medical knowledge to know the best actions. Trump has made mistakes, but Hillary would have made just as many had she been elected. Trump acted early and was called xenophobic because he banned people from Asia. Oops. Would he had been xenophobic had he banned Europeans? The Florida and New York governors took different approaches early. Florida was hailed for taking a measured approach and saved lives and there were loud calls by many of you to reopen the theme parks because the virus does not spread in warm weather. New York sent the sick to nursing homes where the virus spread like wildfire. But now the numbers have switched and Florida is bad and New York is good. The point is information was lacking and is still lacking. We really will not know "who" managed it well for several more years. When we do find out-- it will probably be because they made a lucky guess since they didn't really have accurate and complete information at the time.

July 10, 2020 at 4:22 PM

@BGoodwin that was hilarious:)
At the end of the day, I completely understand the opening of theme parks, doesn't mean I'm lining up to go though. Political views aside, it's those individuals that don't give a damn about the restrictions that are the problem.

July 10, 2020 at 5:43 PM

Remember when I said way up above that everything is politicized...thanks for proving my point.

I live in a current hot spot..Murrells Inlet, SC. It wasn’t a hot spot at all until June, when the hotels reopened, restricted travel from NY and the northeast was lifted, and everyone decided they were still coming on vacation. Add multiple weekly testing sites and fast forward a month and a half, and here we are in the news. Preach all the policy you want from the computer screen and try to control everyone else’s lives, but you can’t perpetually put a gun to the head of the American economy while they figure this out, because who knows when that will be. Science isn’t perfect, it takes time and data and case studies. The information is conflicting and imperfect, hence you can’t call anyone an expert. Also, and my part of the country is a prime example of this...people are going to do what they want to do...period. They sat at home for months and they are done sitting, and if Disney isn’t open, they are going to go somewhere else.

Stop pretending that this actually is a controllable situation. It isn’t, and you are kidding yourself if you think other countries that aren’t communist states are having no trouble with this anymore.

July 10, 2020 at 5:52 PM

Bravo Derek, Bravo, Totally Agree!

July 10, 2020 at 6:07 PM

I’m sorry but Robert is absolutely entitled and correct to state the obvious about why businesses are left with little choice. Mistakes have been made by all Government Leaders dealing with Covid because no one is truly an expert on something that is “novel”. However, if you continue to deny science/research, spread lies about treatment, prevention and trends all the while throwing fire on racial tensions, refusing to do your basic duties such as reading security briefings, engaging in petty arguments and undermining your own cabinet when they can’t repeat your obvious lies - you should lose your seat at the decision making or compromise table. And btw if one’s family, former employees and cabinet members almost universally say you are a clear and present danger, incompetent, and disinterested in facts, you best pay attention - these people know that person much better than you. Sorry this site may be normally about parks and fun but we are not in a position to focus on fun at the moment.

July 10, 2020 at 9:01 PM

B Goodwin above is being extremely naive, or PC, in refusing to blame China. Read up about the appalling crap they do over there. The virus spread from animals to humans for one of three possible reasons: live animal markets (ugh -- just one of the ways that country is appallingly inhumane to animals), eating bats (!) or that virus lab in Wuhan which had slovenly unsafe practices. Or maybe a combination of the above.

In addition, they failed to close their borders when they first got wind of the pandemic, repressed scientists and doctors who were warning about it, failed to warn their neighbors until it was too late, and ordered all their embassies to buy up and hoard masks and other equipment, and send them to China -- which largely explains the shortages of that equipment.

China owes the world at least $1 trillion in reparations. For starters.

I do agree with posters above who have called out the idiocy of the anti-science and anti vaxer crowd, the utter selfishness and short sightedness of the fools who have made the mask a political issue, etc. They're a virus' best friend.

July 11, 2020 at 6:18 AM

Still a Fan, I think you’re mischaracterising Godwins comments.

At the end of the day, China does bear some responsibility for the origin. However, pretty much everything after it arrives in a country is down to local response. China isn’t responsible for the actions - or lack thereof - of governments at various levels. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and it should be distributed where it belongs.

As for those who are worried about the economy... businesses need stability. Yoyoing in and out of lockdowns isn’t good for the economy, even if those are localised. Just giving up and living with full to the brim hospitals is not good for the economy. The choice is not “deal with public health or the economy” it’s “deal with short term economic pain now or deal with sustained economic pain”.... but even if it was a choice between people and the economy, screw the economy - the economy is there to service people, people do not exist to service the economy.

July 11, 2020 at 1:23 PM

There is a lot blame to go arround, albeit it´s definitly not equal distrubted among the political spectrum and Disney really seem to be far down the line as far as actors to blame go. Still don´t think it makes any sense to open - not even for Disney itsself.

The argument that Disney has to open eventually and that things might be very bad for a long time does not really hold water. Yes things could be really bad for a long time. Or they could not. Repression has turned out to work reasonably well when its tried. Cheap decent vaccines are still a likely outcome within the not too far away future. So it makes perfect sense to wait and see for a month or so, when we know that right now Florida is pretty close to the worst possible scenario.

Disney also isn´t just any company, it´s quasi monopolist with substancial influence on the local economy, so they should have more clout than usual to move things one way or another. If Disney managers keep the parks closed and explain the governor of Florida that they are convinced a new serious shutdown folowed by opening up very careful is also the best way to go for the tourism economy mid and long term, pointing to examples like Italy which overcame a serious outbreak, he might actually listen.

July 11, 2020 at 1:44 PM

Still A Fan - I am neither being PC nor naive. Everything you pointed out that China did wrong has complete merit. And because of their actions and inactions, this is the situation that rest of the world has been unfairly saddled with. But crossing your arms and saying "This is all China's fault. They should pay us a Trillion dollars" is just pointless. Might as well ask for one billion gagillion fafillion shabadaboloshabadillion dollars.

I will save you the mystery of how it will all turn out; They won't even give the rest of the world a sincere "Duìyú nàgè h?n bàoqiàn" (according to Google Translate, it's Mandarin for "Sorry about that!").

So, saddled with this unfair situation, the other countries of the world can only be judged by how they responded to the unfair situation they have been handed.

And due to (what the rest of the world so clearly recognizes as) a failure to have positioned appropriate leadership in the country, the response of the USA has been so very, very poor - in a nation that had all the resources, intelligence, and ability to position themselves as leaders in isolating and quashing the disease.

So, point at China, call it the "Kung Flu", push all accountability wherever you want, and wish for all the compensation in the world - In the end, a population equivalent of the city of Dayton Ohio has died. Because a country, known to be a great and capable nation, cannot unify enough or persist in efforts long enough, to fend off an unfair situation.

July 11, 2020 at 3:30 PM

I wish I could clap at that Goodwin. It’s easy if you’re a to think of something that’s been done to us, but everything after that initial act, that’s us.

July 11, 2020 at 4:25 PM

I will take China reparations in the form of Shanghai tix ... Or take out.

July 11, 2020 at 10:57 PM

Of course I agree that the U.S. (most states, anyway) seem to be botching the economic reopening. As a Canadian who loves to visit our neighbor, I despair and wonder when we can ever reopen the border, when I can ever visit again.

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