Disney Pushes Its Case to Reopen Disneyland

September 22, 2020, 1:12 PM · Disney's theme park division took its campaign to reopen the Disneyland Resort to the press today, with an online press briefing on "Our Approach to Operating during a Pandemic" that ended with a direct appeal to California state officials.

Disney Parks, Experiences & Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro closed the presentation with Disney's pitch.

"To our California government officials, particularly at the state level, I encourage you to treat theme parks like you would other sectors. Help us reopen. We need guidelines that are fair and equitable, so that we can better understand our future and chart a path towards reopening. The longer we wait, the more devastating the impact will be to Orange County and the Anaheim communities and the tens of thousands of people who rely on us for employment. With the right guidelines and our years of operations experience, I am confident that we can restart and get people back to work. As you can see from this discussion today, we're ready. And more importantly, it's time."

Disneyland and other theme parks around the state are awaiting official guidance from the state of California that would establish the rules under which they can operate during this pandemic. The state has issued guidance for most other major sectors of the economy, including restaurants, retail and other attractions, including family entertainment centers.

Under the state's new four-tier pandemic response system, Disneyland's home of Orange County has moved out of the most restrictive tier, which would allow limited indoor dining and theater attendance. The state's guidance has allowed other theme parks to resume limited operations, such as the food festivals at Knott's Berry Farm and the outdoor operations at SeaWorld San Diego, which is operating under guidance permitting the opening of zoos and aquariums.

Before D’Amaro spoke, managers from the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts detailed Disney's new health and safety operations procedures. These procedures should be familiar to our frequent readers here Theme Park Insider: mandatory masks usage, reduced capacities to foster safe physical distancing, the use if plastic and glass barriers, contactless payments, and frequent sanitation of surface and hand cleaning throughout the resort.

But Disney California Adventure Park & Downtown Disney District Vice President Patrick Finnegan offered one new bit of information: "We're pleased to announce today that we are in the process of finalizing a plan that would allow our cast members to have access to [Covid-19] testing in their own communities. We'll have more information to share with our cast members soon."

Given that aggressive testing is a cornerstone of California's pandemic response, Disney signaling that it is willing to support additional testing in multiple communities in Southern California could help the company boost its case that it is willing to work as a partner with state and local officials. Earlier in the presentation, Walt Disney World Hotels & Resorts Vice President Elizabeth Mullins made the case for Disney's support of contact tracing — another element of California's pandemic response plan.

"Our team and safety team proactively developed a very thorough process for supporting contact tracing. This includes notifying any close work contacts and placing them on leave until they're medically ready and cleared to return to work. Our processes are thorough and guided by Disney's team of health and safety professionals, as well as other experts, including physicians and epidemiologists. Additionally, in order to make testing convenient and accessible for our cast members we've worked with local health authorities in Florida to allow them to set up testing facilities on our property that are open for both cast and the public."

As I mentioned on Twitter following the presentation, Disney has every right to make its case. And state officials have every right - and even a responsibility - to make their decision based on the criteria they see as important, no matter what Disney says.

After all, theme park managers aren't exactly at the top of the list of people to whom state officials ought to be listening when deciding how to respond to this public health emergency.

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Replies (24)

September 22, 2020 at 2:12 PM

I dunno. On one hand it’s getting harder to argue against it as other sectors open.

On the other hand, the home court advantage is now tending towards COVID as winter comes, and the only thing worse than being closed is a stop-start-stop-start.

September 22, 2020 at 4:09 PM

It would be difficult to disagree with a guy who has an apostrophe in his last name.

I trust Disney's safety team -- who have (by almost any reasonable measure) been successful at opening other Disney parks.

September 22, 2020 at 4:39 PM

I was in Utah this past weekend, and after Utah license plates the most common were California. It seems that people are fleeing the state to go places where they are allowed to do activities that benefit their mental health despite the COVID risk. For reference, California is currently the 37th worst state in the country for COVID while Utah is the 7th. Now, I'm not an expert, but I would think you'd want to try to avoid giving people a reason to leave the state if trying to reduce spread is the ultimate goal.

Until the question of "What unique aspect of theme parks, which is not present in any other business currently allowed to operate in the state, is responsible for the spread of COVID and therefore necessitates a continuing closure?" can be answered in a satisfactory manner, there is absolutely no scientifically backed reason to keep them closed in California any longer. In fact, it may be safer overall to open them up, and the pros of theme park operation likely far outweigh the cons given the position we're currently at on the west coast.

September 22, 2020 at 5:22 PM

In Sedona, AZ this past weekend the CA license plates far outnumber the AZ plates. I have to agree with AJs observations.

I am split on the issue. To argue for, Disney has demonstrated strong safety measures and friends that have gone to Florida recently have seen 4 different individuals ejected (in 1 different parks & D springs) peacefully for not wearing their mask. Disney ain't playing. (No they were not in Hollywood Studios for that incident)

To argue against Disney, it's not the measure, it is how closely people follow guidelines. We are the X factor. That area of California can easily tip the scales and immediately go back into mass community spread. Part of me believes that State is waiting to see the first reported cases of flu season and see how bad "bad" is.

I don't believe they have a case for keeping the parks closed any longer, they may have to be far more strict on capacity well into 2021 but, I cannot see a reason to not open if Disney puts good contact tracing in place.

September 22, 2020 at 6:08 PM

National infection rate yesterday was up SEVEN PERCENT above the 14 day average, 55,000 new infections. We're definitely headed toward 100,000 a day this winter on our current trajectory.

Deaths will increase too. Tens, maybe hundreds of thousands more people are going to die avoidable deaths. Maybe you will die. Maybe it will be me. My 75 year old dad had to get tested yesterday--may it will be him. Lots of people are gonna die!

If we had contained the virus it would be reasonable to open Disneyland with precautions. But our infection rate is consummately unreasonable, a historic AVOIDABLE public health disaster that is going to get WORSE for MONTHS. Opening a playground in that environment is ridiculous, particularly in a densely populated area like Southern California.

To those who say "what about Disney's business," the answer is easy: you want to save Disney's business, control the virus. That's your first, best and ONLY choice. As it stands, lots of Americans are acting like stone-cold idiots, and because of them the rest of us are gonna have to batten down the hatches and get ready for a looooong winter stuck in the house.

Oh, and AJ, you ask:
"What unique aspect of theme parks, which is not present in any other business currently allowed to operate in the state, is responsible for the spread of COVID and therefore necessitates a continuing closure?"

I feel like that's easy: where else do you go instead a building and ride in the exact path of everyone in front of you, effectively drafting in the wake of their exhaled breath? If you can catch the covid up to 20 feet away from a jogger huffing by, say hello to Mr. Toad's Wild Inhale and Pirates of the Breathribbean

September 23, 2020 at 12:13 AM

@leastinteresting is right, it's about the X factor of human reactions. After all, when this all started, a key thing folks never took into account was this "shelter orders/masks are tyranny" belief taking hold that threw efforts at containment off.

And @thecolonel is also right, folks ignoring it's not going away and "hey, death rate okay lately, it's getting better." That's just what folks thought in June and then the spikes happened. In Illinois, still doing best to handle with rules without re-sheltering but risks abound.

I get pressure on California for folks leaving. Pritzker would have preferred Illionis sheltered longer but knew folks heading to neighbor states so preferred controlling in-house. California may need to do the same but again, this idea that somehow not going to a theme park is the same as being stripped of all rights is not helping containing all this.

September 23, 2020 at 8:43 AM

@thecolonel - I think AJ's argument (and many others here on TPI) is that opening theme parks present no greater risk to spreading the virus than other industries/facilities currently open. If people can go to the zoo, indoor aquarium, museums, and family entertainment centers (like Chuck E Cheese and Dave and Busters), why are theme parks being forced to keep their gates closed? The State of California refuses to articulate what specific vectors are causing spread in theme parks that are absent in these other locations that are allowed to operate. If the state has deemed it safe to go to the gym, visit a museum, or play video games at an arcade, why isn't it safe to go to Disneyland?

The hypocrisy cannot be more blatant in California, and as demonstrated above, Californians are fleeing the state to entertainment experiences that are forbidden or significantly curtailed near their homes. California is the only state that is taking such a hypocritical, pick-and-choose, approach to reopening. If they were just keeping things closed or significantly restricted, having theme parks stay closed wold be completely logical, but it's this deliberate kowtowing to certain industries for obvious political purposes that completely undermines any scientific approach to containing and limiting the spread of the virus.

September 23, 2020 at 10:54 AM

Russell, you write: "If people can go to the zoo, indoor aquarium, museums, and family entertainment centers (like Chuck E Cheese and Dave and Busters), why are theme parks being forced to keep their gates closed?"

As I said above, the answer is obvious: "where else do you go inside a building and ride in the exact path of everyone in front of you, effectively drafting in the wake of their exhaled breath?"

A super-spreader on Snow White's Scary Adventure could easily infect the 10 cars behind them. And sure, switchback lines at the parks now have plastic barriers (Note: doesn't stop aerosols), but they also necessarily keep you in close quarters with other people. By contrast, at Dave and Busters or the Aquarium, you'll stay six feet away from people, and from their breath.

In any event, where is there any evidence that California's state leaders are "deliberate[ly] kowtowing to certain industries for obvious political purposes that completely undermines any scientific approach to containing and limiting the spread of the virus." I have seen no facts anywhere that would lead to that conclusion--or maybe you just _believe that?

Newsome and the rest have every reason to get Disneyland and other themeparks open, and are facing enormous pressure to do so. That they keep them closed--for the reasons I've listed and I'm sure many others--speaks to their INTEGRITY. They are putting our safety first and undermining their own political strength as a result. There is zero hypocrisy in that.

In any event, they're doing their best, so it's not very polite to accuse them of hypocrisy when there's no evidence to support it. Indeed, the only hypocrites I see in this pandemic are those--like Trump--who refuse to wear a mask but insist the rest of us must go back to life as normal, which is sure to KILL some of us. The people who put us into this mess now want you to believe its your money or your life, that you must risk your life to save our businesses. But that's a bogus dichotomy, and one they've created to avoid responsibility for their criminal bungling of America's virus response.

It's your money AND your life, and the only way we will save businesses is to bring the infection rate down to a manageable level. We shouldn't be complaining about Disneyland not being open, we should be complaining that Dave and Busters IS open, and helping to further spread the virus through absolutely non-essential activities. (As someone wrote, by partying hard at Memorial day and spiking the infection rate, Americans effective chose the bar over their kid's education.)

Disneyland, Golf & Stuff, the Country Club--they should all be closed, and in a few weeks, when we're at 100,000 new cases a day, I imagine they will be again.

September 23, 2020 at 11:10 AM

What scientific evidence are you referencing in characterizing a "wake of their exhaled breath", and what studies have shown that the virus spreads like that? Do you actually think a cloud of exhaled air containing virus particles from a rider will stay in one spot as trailing vehicles pass through? With that thinking, how is that any different than keeping 6 feet of distance between you any the person in front of you at an art gallery as you follow each other through the exhibits with 1-way halls and marked pathways?

Again, there is NO science being applied here to determine what is open and what is closed. If California says it's safe to walk through indoor spaces with social distancing and masking, there is no scientific evidence provided by to state to impose limitation on other similar activities. Officials are picking and choosing what they want to open based purely on political motivations. So, if you want to keep everyone as safe as possible, you close everything down, but risk further economic calamity and mental burnout. However, if you want to give people a sense of normalcy by slowly opening sectors of life back up, you cannot create double standards without proven science behind those decisions.

September 23, 2020 at 12:43 PM

I'd like to remind Nancy Pelosi that there is a bi-partisan deal that would greatly help the affected employees of our industry, and all she needs to do is endorse it and it would probably pass.

I don't take political sides, i'm all for doing the right thing for the situation, and it blows my mind that after so many months of nonsense that she won't take this deal.

September 23, 2020 at 12:45 PM

It comes down as well to "how eager are folks really to go?" Because this own board shows people wary of heading to a theme park as is. Look at how movie studios are delaying scores of stuff now to 2021 for the simple brutal truth that folks just are not willing to go to a theater right now, even for some big blockbuster.

My mom is a nurse in her 70s and had been planning a trip with her grandkids back in April. Even a couple of months ago, she was still hoping to get there but now, seeing the mess Florida is, she's holding back because of how dangerous it can be. So yes, there will be people refusing to go no matter what even as others do.

Off this, I'm baffled at this "Newsom just wants federal bailout" money. Yes, clearly, trying to get a few million out of the government offsets the billions lost leaving a massive tourist state shut down (not to mention, oh, the entire movie and TV industry). Again, it's annoying given that had this been handled so much better six months ago, we wouldn't be having this discussion but idiocy on multiple levels took hold and Newsome is trying to handle the mess as best he can given he has no help from the federal government.

September 23, 2020 at 1:32 PM

>> If California says it's safe to walk through indoor spaces with social distancing and masking, there is no scientific evidence provided by to state to impose limitation on other similar activities.

Safe however means different things. If I ingest 1 unit of a toxin today, I may be fine. If I inject 1 unit if a toxin every day for the rest of my life, it can conceivably shorten my life. Is the toxin safe?

Similarly with opening parts of the economy. A, B, and C might all have individually a risk factor of D. D might be low enough to be an acceptable risk, 2D might even be low enough, but 3D might take you over the line. You can just look at each activity in isolation, you have to look at the cocktail of things you’re allowing and the rock profile that comes from that combined cocktail.

We’re seeing these calculations play out in countries preparing for wave 2. If the desire is to keep schools open, for example, some things have to close to offset that risk.

September 23, 2020 at 1:41 PM

Russell, there are abundant studies that show when people are moving faster, such as when they are jogging, the virus spreads further. You can google it, though this is a fine summary of the theory:

https://theconversation.com/how-to-keep-a-coronavirus-safe-distance-when-youre-jogging-or-cycling-136235

Of course, there's far more research to show that virus aerosols build up in the air over time, particularly when you're inside. Put those two together and the Haunted Mansion could be a death trap.

You write: "So, if you want to keep everyone as safe as possible, you close everything down, but risk further economic calamity and mental burnout."

Exactly that. Had we done what we should back in the Spring, and contained the virus, we would be like Europe right now, where life has generally resumed, and where remedial measures can be targeted to areas where there a new outbreak. Instead, we are idiots, and our numbers are now going up in TWENTY THREE states as of this week, and up to 150,000 more people may die before years end. We cannot discuss reopening, because we never achieved containment.

As such, there is no rational argument in favor of opening an amusement park--or an art gallery, to use your example, or any other INDOOR, non-essential social gathering space--in the middle of a raging epidemic. We can't go dancing, we can't go cheer for sports, we can't go to Disneyland, that is the reality we chose when a third of us refused to wear masks and socially distance this year. We picked this reality.

So thank god for Gavin Newsome and our state leaders having the conviction to suffer all these bogus, ill-manner charges of bad faith and put our entire state's social welfare (and the lives of potentially tens of thousands of people) over the minority's desire to go to a theme park.

September 23, 2020 at 2:07 PM

I feel like you didn't even read the article you're attempting to push out as science...

From the article: "The study, by a team of engineers in Europe, is a preprint publication, which means it hasn’t been peer-reviewed by other scientists and journal editors to check the research methods and findings."

"The study is also based on a computer simulation, so it’s a hypothetical study not involving human participants."

Additionally, this science you're so sure will doom everyone on the Haunted Mansion is based off a simulation not involving the use of masks.

Try harder next time Colonel.

September 23, 2020 at 2:35 PM

The issue is trickier as some states did handle this better than others but even the better ones still see spikes and risks. In my area of Illinois, mask mandates are enforced not by government but the local businesses and folks are okay following them. Yet some places in the southern part of the state are a little laxer and think "ah, Chicago has to worry, we can handle it better", ignoring viruses aren't held by county lines.

So in Chicago, we can have places like zoos and museums open. Museum of Science and Industry took longer as it's more a hands-on place so had to make special prep with guests given personalized styluses to touch exhibits and even then, some areas closed off and folks clearly a bit wary of even going. In fact, Navy Pier, usually a busy tourist spot, is already closing much earlier than usual for the simple fact folks just aren't going there.

California, contrary to what some believe, is not some 100 percent united liberal spot, a lot of conservative areas and other spots who didn't take this as seriously and looser on restrictions. Remember, back in June, they were supposed to reopen, Disneyland ready to welcome guests on 65th anniversary...then a huge spike which forced a new lockdown. Given its huge population and demographics, there's still so much risk inherent, as much (if not more) than Florida so it's little wonder it's erring on the side of caution, especially with concerns of a new wave (because again, we're not even through the first one yet) which can just cause another shutdown anyway.

It really is damned if you do, damned if you don't as Disney obviously doesn't want bad press of any outbreaks or risks of folks unwittingly carrying it either as the risks are still huge as with no vaccine, life is not going to be anywhere near normal for a long time.

September 23, 2020 at 2:41 PM

"As such, there is no rational argument in favor of opening an amusement park--or an art gallery, to use your example, or any other INDOOR, non-essential social gathering space--in the middle of a raging epidemic. We can't go dancing, we can't go cheer for sports, we can't go to Disneyland, that is the reality we chose when a third of us refused to wear masks and socially distance this year. We picked this reality."

Absolutely, yet California maintained some of the strictest and longest lock-down standards in the entire US, yet is in the middle of overall performance right now as it relates to new cases per 100k. So, perhaps the lesson from California is that tight lock-down measures loose their effectiveness after a certain amount of time. The science clearly states that social interactions increase the risk of virus transmission, but there's a little variable called human nature that cannot be effectively legislated against. People are naturally drawn to each other, and after months of forced isolation, they need to get together. For some, the risk of death does not overcome this natural attraction. There are numerous psychological studies theorizing the "sweet spot" for lock-down tolerance, but most experts seem to agree that it's somewhere between 3-5 months before lock-downs become counter-productive with California the poster child for this phenomenon. There's also the mental toll that lock-downs take on the human psyche that are not fully understood, but are clearly negative. Having some human interaction (beyond Zoom) is essential to maintain sanity.

Also, there's always going to be a counter-culture that will rebel against authority when it appears that certain rights and freedoms are being taken away without valid reasoning behind it. You'd think a progressive state like California that has been decriminalizing or reducing penalties for dozens of different offenses over the past decade, would understand that telling people they CAN'T do something just because the government tells you to is an invitation for thousands to defy such orders, particularly when valid reasoning and scientific evidence belie some of these decisions.

Again, I'm not arguing that governments fling open their doors with reckless abandon, but there is a tempered, systematic approach that can be forged to live alongside COVID. However, officials need to be clear in their approaches and science behind their decisions, not issuing edicts without reason that contradict previous decisions. Also, when caught in a clear and utter hypocrisy, those officials should have the guts to recognize that the contradiction exists and work to correct it, not sit on their hands waiting for a lawsuit. If California cannot provide adequate reasoning why theme parks are closed, then they either need to permit them to operate or move to close similar industries that are also "non-essential".

September 23, 2020 at 4:27 PM

But Russell you haven't "caught anyone in a clear and utter hypocrisy." You continue to push that argument despite ANY evidence to show that the state's decisions are politically motivated, or are motivated by anything beyond trying to save lives. I have given you several reasons above why theme parks present a special challenge and you can't answer them, because of course they have a scientific basis.

Instead, you've now shifted your argument to one about personal freedom, that if people are told to wear masks and stay inside to help stay lives, they can only take so much so we might as well give up and "live alongside COVID," as if that were possible. (Note: it's a deadly, easily transmittable disease.) There is no "living beside" COVID unless you want hundreds of thousands more people to DIE. Maybe "die alongside COVID" is the better turn of phrase.

In any event, you say telling people they "CAN'T do something just because the government tells you to is an invitation for thousands to defy such orders." But that claim is readily and obviously belied by the results in nearly every other developed country, where they have contained the virus far, far better than us. How have the Vietnamese, and the Germans, and so many other peoples been capable of doing the exact thing you claim is impossible?

Try this on for size: since any of us can remember, restaurants have had signs that say NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE. Where are the freedom warriors on that one? Why aren't people going berserk and insisting on their right to eat at Applebee's with their gut out? Likewise: where are the people losing their minds and demanding they be allowed to smoke inside, or drive without their seatbelt, or sneeze without covering their mouth?

The truth is that Americans put up with a near-infinite number of rules and regulations that curtail their personal freedom in the name of the social good. The only difference here is that in an effort to distract from their criminal failure to respond to the pandemic, Trump and the GOP started pushing this absurd personal freedom nonsense, and their fanatical followers have swallowed it wholesale. We are the only developed country in the world with this insane, avoidable catastrophe because we are the only developed country in the world were a third of our population has chosen to believe a deranged fool over science.

And so now those same people are pushing to further open our society, which will increase infections, increase deaths, and very likely lead to a complete shutdown again, or at least a far, far longer period before we can open with confidence. Incredibly, those same people are so brainwashed by their leader's message that they willingly take their kids to public gatherings without masks, without distancing. Like Herman Caine, they will die because of their slavish devotion to scientifically corrupt message of "personal freedom" that requires them to trade their lives so that businesses survive.

This has ZERO to do with personal freedom, and everything to do with the political movement dragging our country down the drain.

When the Nazis were bombing London, did people selfishly insist upon keeping their lights on at night in the name of personal freedom??! Or did they do the right thing for EVERYONE by keeping them turned off? Exactly the same thing.

September 23, 2020 at 4:04 PM

Wow, this blew up (though no real surprise there). Anyway...

Yes, as Russell points out, my argument is not "theme parks should never be closed," but is instead "theme parks should not remain closed given what else is permitted to operate." I have yet to find any scientifically driven reason to not open them based on where we're currently at, and have felt far safer at those that I've visited this year than almost any other business I've gone to since the shutdowns began. In fact, I would argue that we've reached the point theme parks and other outdoor recreational activities should be considered essential, both from a economic perspective and a mental health perspective.

California has blown it twice...first by reopening too early, then by closing again when they got spooked by a slightly larger rise than expected. As a result, we've done far more damage to our state than most, yet our numbers are not significantly better than those that opened and stayed open throughout the summer. Meanwhile, I am seeing people from this state complaining daily about struggles with depression, and I don't think I've gone more than a week without someone I know admitting that they've seriously considered suicide, something I'd rarely see even once a month just a year ago. Most of my friends feel that the cost of what we're doing isn't worth it, and there's a real danger that we're at the tipping point. Go past that, and you'll either get a complete collapse of the economy worse than the great depression, or you'll get a population so afflicted with mental ailments that society can no longer function. If the Halloween ban on trick-or-treating and gatherings had been upheld, I think that would have irreversibly broken California. Now, I'm not sure what it will be, but we're in a precarious position largely due to poor performance by elected officials.

Thecolonel, your argument unfortunately does not satisfy my question. You're relying on old information for a novel virus that current thinking has rendered obsolete. The scientific consensus right now is that droplet transmission is by far the most prominent risk, with aerosol transmission possible under extended exposure in poorly ventilated areas. You cannot catch Covid by someone jogging past twenty feet away, nor can you catch it by briefly following in an airstream. This is especially true when everyone is masked, a requirement at almost every park currently operating. Even if you could catch the virus in this manner, how is two people going down a hallway on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride every 15-20 seconds worse than groups of people passing through an underwater tunnel every few seconds on a moving walkway, which is fully permitted at aquariums currently in operation? There is valid argument that certain types of theme park attractions may need to wait to open, but nothing that says Knott's would be more dangerous with the coasters running than it is in the current setup for their food festivals, for example.

September 23, 2020 at 4:35 PM

AJ, you write that "I would argue that we've reached the point theme parks and other outdoor recreational activities should be considered essential, both from a economic perspective and a mental health perspective."

But Disneyland isn't outdoors. By a rough estimate I'd say more than half of its attractions are indoors. Windowless.

I appreciate and agree with your point about the difference with an aquarium, but my response is only that it's insane for that aquarium to be open. The threat of aerosol build up (and I entirely disagree that the science is settled on direct-transmission being the primary culprit, there is a very strong case for aerosols being equally deadly), would be the same as an indoor restaurant or movie theater. The question is not why isn't Disneyland open, it's why the hell is that aquarium open.

Bottom line: if we don't do a lot more RIGHT NOW, the current situation is going to stretch well into to next year, and maybe longer absent a vaccine (or a leader with more sense). All of the lost business, all of the depression, all of the things that purportedly will be cured by opening now will be COMPOUNDED by opening now, because it will only stretch out the length of the epidemic.

This is the lesson we literally just learned in June of this year! 20,000 cases up to 70,000 cases, more than tripled. If that proportion holds steady, we're gonna go from 40,000 to 120,000+ A DAY.

Dudes, this is seriously serious business. This isn't about personal freedom or quibbles over science. We're on the gosh-darn Titanic and whole bunch of people are going to DIE. It's not a hoax, it's REAL, and it's real bad. I'm only arguing this vehemently because I truly fear what's about to happen, and more relevant to this site--

if we don't get control of this now, it's only that much longer before I can go back to REAL Disneyland, not shrinkwrapped "am I gonna die" Disneyland.

September 23, 2020 at 4:38 PM

Thecolonel, I'm gonna need to see your evidence that riding rides is hazardous when Disney and other park chains are requiring masks to be worn at all times. The parks at Orlando have been open for over three months now. Officials have not yet declared an outbreak linked to them. Across the country, we saw protests where people were screaming and chanting while wearing masks with little social distancing. Officials have not yet declared an outbreak linked to them. The idea that opening parks in California would lead to huge outbreaks has no basis so far.

September 23, 2020 at 4:59 PM

Thecolonel, I believe you're missing the whole point of my argument and trying to argue something different to back your personal views. Like I said above, certain theme park attractions may not be able to operate right now, but a vast majority of them can. Outdoor roller coaster? Minimal risk. Short indoor dark ride, or attraction with some indoor segments? Keep 95% of the queue outdoors, and you can probably make it work. The only attractions where there might be a problem are those where you're indoors in close proximity to others for an extended duration, and if capacity is reduced enough (i.e. one party per boat on Pirates) it's probably feasible to make those work as well. Plus, my argument specifies "given what else is permitted to operate." You seem to be ignoring that qualifier.

Also, as you seem to be selectively choosing which scientific information you choose to accept and are disagreeing with those that don't support your statement, I personally consider your argument to be null and void unless you can present current evidence backing your claims. The numbers prove that despite opening more and more throughout the summer, cases and deaths have been generally decreasing from a high in late July. We're starting to see an increase, likely due to celebrations held for Labor Day, as the increase didn't begin until after that point. Right now, private gatherings are thought to be among the largest contributors to viral spread, and that is not something that can be effectively prevented. If it starts declining again within three to four weeks, it will be really strong support that closures of any industry are not warranted. Specifically when it comes to the theme park industry, there has been no documented case of an outbreak tied to a theme park, and only a handful of transmissions are known to have happened in that environment.

September 24, 2020 at 10:23 AM

"How have the Vietnamese, and the Germans, and so many other peoples been capable of doing the exact thing you claim is impossible?"

Because they slowly relaxed restrictions after a period of time to save their people's sanity. You also seem to neglect that cases are again rising in many European countries (mostly due to social interactions during Holiday periods in August), but many of those countries are realizing that initiating another strict lock-down will not make a significant difference, and instead are adjusting measures to directly affect societal behaviors specifically and scientifically linked to virus transmission. Despite increasing transmission, you don't see European countries closing theme parks, they're taking other measures like forcing bars/restaurants to close early, and issuing curfews as most transmissions are traced back to bars, clubs, and other social gatherings at night (when people are intoxicated and let down their guard and masks).

"There is no "living beside" COVID unless you want hundreds of thousands more people to DIE. Maybe "die alongside COVID" is the better turn of phrase."

This is completely nonsensical. The virus is not going anywhere, just like influenza, Ebola, AIDS, and thousands of other infectious diseases that kill millions every single year. Even if a vaccine is available and widely distributed, the virus will still exist, and there will be a percentage of the population that will DIE every single year from complications due to it. Additionally, even in a perfect world of a vaccine with super-hero-like efficacy (>75%), there will be people in the world that will not be able to take it, choose not to take it, or those that are not protected despite taking it. FWIW, the standard for efficacy for a "successful" vaccine is only 50%, meaning it will not protect half the people that take it, and who knows how long those that are protected will maintain that protection.

Beyond the amazingly rapid search for a vaccine, the medical field has dramatically increased their knowledge about the virus and treatments for it. Ventilators, once viewed as the only way to prolong a person's life and chances of defeating COVID, are now only used as a last resort with the millions of additional units built around the world to combat the virus sitting in stockpiles gathering dust. Some scientists are even beginning to theorize that COVID is actually NOT a respiratory disease at all, and instead a circulatory disease, which is opening doors to a whole new slate of treatments far more effective than those prescribed during the first few months of the pandemic. However, despite our increasing knowledge, there is no known way to completely eradicate it from our world, and even if it were, it's likely that it would mutate or another pathogen would emerge to take its place.

COVID should be seen as a wake-up call for the human race to improve our overall hygine, customs, public information and communication, and world collaboration, but we shouldn't pretend that it will one day vanish from the Earth. We MUST learn to live alongside this virus and the others that will inevitably follow. We cannot expect businesses and experiences suddenly perceived as "dangerous" to disappear from our lives. We should allow those industries to evolve and adapt to address and mitigate the danger posed by COVID and future pathogens, NOT force them to sit on the sideline while others are allowed to prosper - we also shouldn't let life turn into one of pure isolation simply because we're too afraid to step outside our front door. We certainly cannot allow the virus to run rampant around the world, but there should be a compromise where human life can move forward and tolerate the risk associated with infection. Yes, certain industries and experiences will need to evolve, but they shouldn't be forced into extinction simply because a bunch of bureaucrats' own self interests or because one industry is deemed "safer" than another based on outdated science or a "belief" that one is less risky than another.

September 24, 2020 at 3:00 PM

And with that Russell, all you need to add is a mic drop. You couldn’t say it any better. Risk will always be there and will never fully be eradicated. There is no answer to what is manageable because as we see in Europe, cases can spike again. We have to figure out a way to live with it. In my opinion, living in fear is not really living. Just live with common sense. I have first hand seeing the measures Disney and universal have taken here in Florida. I’ve been to both resort on several occasions since the reopening. They have proven that they know what they are doing. Give them the chance to show Cali

September 25, 2020 at 11:50 AM

I am going to back where I was in March, for me the basics have not changed:

1.) You need good contact tracing (Because the CDC by their own admission is broken)
2.) You need pre-screening, where have you been, when have you been, how did you travel?
3.) Temp checks and Covid-19 quick tests.
4.) Strict mask requirements
5.) Limited capacity


Other parts of the World are doing this successfully... we can too.

Don't practice...Demonstrate

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