Why Disneyland Should Be Allowed to Reopen Now. This time, hear me out on why now is not the time for theme parks such as Disneyland to return.In a companion post, I just argued
My main argument in the other post was that theme parks can reopen safely. That's based primarily on the track record from the state of Florida, where no outbreaks have been traced to the reopening of Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and other major theme parks.
Trouble is, Florida's recording-keeping when it comes to Covid-19 has been attacked as garbage. And contact tracing within the state is a mess. If a theme park visitor infected tourists from outside the state, would Florida even know about it?
Even if the parks themselves have not become vectors for spreading the virus, people ought to be concerned about the precedent that reopening the parks might set. The evidence is growing overwhelming that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is spread through the air, and that it infects people far more often in indoor environments than outside. Reopening bars and indoor dining has been traced to multiple outbreaks across the country. Case rates throughout the counties that house California's theme parks remain far too high to consider allowing indoor restaurants, bars, and theaters to return. The last thing we need is to reopen theme parks in any way that might encourage owners of those other indoor facilities to sue for approval to reopen their businesses as well.
It's just easier to leave the parks closed.
Okay, maybe they can return for limited outdoor operations, such as Knott's Berry Farm and SeaWorld San Diego have done. Limited experiences such as those only encourage people to visit for a limited amount of time. Right now, the safest thing for all Californians is for people to remain home as much as possible. We should not be opening attractions that entice people to get out of their homes for the entire day, from dawn to long past sundown — as high-priced days at theme parks tend to do, as people want to get full value for their money.
Walt Disney World might have been able to limit attendance successfully due to the low number of visitors coming to Central Florida right now. But Disneyland attracts a vastly different crowd that its Florida sibling does. When it returns, Disneyland will be slammed with local annual passholders wanting to get back into the parks. Disneyland is physically tiny compared with the Florida parks. There's far less space here for safe physical distancing.
And what about guests driving into the practically indoor Mickey and Friends and Pixar Pals parking garages? Will Disney be policing visitors for mask use and temperature checks as they exit their cars? If not, that will leave plenty of opportunities for infected visitors to spread the virus to others before they get to Disney's security checks.
I understand the frustration that many theme park fans on the west coast are feeling, not being able to return to their favorite places. And I absolutely understand the frustration and pain felt by many employed by the parks or by contractors who supply the parks. Their livelihoods are at stake here.
But allow me to suggest that their frustration should not be aimed at the state of California for keeping theme parks closed. Instead, they should be angry with local, state, national, and international leaders who allowed this pandemic to get this bad. They should be mad at politicians and media voices who promoted attacks on mask usage, further enabling Covid's spread. They should be upset with elected officials throughout the United States who failed to provide working people in this country the financial support they needed to stay home while the virus was tested, tracked and contained.
Don't allow the leaders who failed us to reframe this challenge as a question of when businesses should reopen. The question — as always — needs to be, "what are we going to do next to get this virus that has killed more than 180,000 Americans under control?"
Reopening Disneyland is not the answer to that question.Tweet
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