Don't look for Disneyland and other major theme parks in the state of California to be reopening anytime soon. California Governor Gavin Newsom said today that the state would be "stubborn" about preserving a "health-first framework" toward theme parks' return, with "no hurry" to put out guidelines.
When asked about Disney Chairman Bob Iger's resignation from the governor's economic recovery task force, Gov. Newsom said,
"It didn't come to me as a surprise at all — there's disagreements in terms of opening a major theme park. We're going to let science and data make that determination. I understand the dialectic, the friction, the frustration that many business leaders have — that they want to move forward sectorally to to reopen. But we are going to be led by a health-first framework, and we're going to be stubborn about it. That's our commitment — that's our resolve. We feel there's no hurry putting out guidelines.
"We're continuing to work with the industry, and, by the way, amusement parks aren't just Disney. You've got all kinds of amusement parks, including smaller parks that are out there — the piers like down in Santa Cruz and others that may be impacted. And so we're trying to work through all of those things. It's very complex. These are like small cities, small communities, small towns, but we don't anticipate, in the immediate turn, any of these larger theme parks opening until we see more stability in terms of the data."
California today reported 2,764 new Covid-19 cases and 51 new deaths due to the disease — both a 0.3 percent increase from the previous day.
Update: Disney Parks on Wednesday evening released a statement from its Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pamela Hymel.
"We absolutely reject the suggestion that reopening the Disneyland Resort is incompatible with a 'health-first' approach. The fact is, that since March we have taken a robust science-based approach to responsibly reopening our parks and resorts across the globe. Our health and safety protocols were developed in consultation with epidemiologists and data scientists, and after considering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and experts in local government and health agencies. All of our other theme parks both in the United States and around the world have been allowed to open on the strength of our proven ability to operate with responsible health and safety protocols."
Update 2: And here is a statement from Six Flags Magic Mountain:
"At Six Flags Magic Mountain, the safety of our guests and team members is our highest priority. In consultation with our epidemiologist, we have developed wide-ranging safety standards that exceed city, state, and CDC guidelines. Since June, we have safely reopened and operated 15 outdoor theme parks and water parks across multiple states and countries throughout North America. We implemented technologically advanced safety procedures including an online reservation system and a contactless entry process. The feedback from city and state leaders has been consistent—Six Flags and the industry have served as a best-in-class example of how to safely reopen all types of businesses.
"These health and safety plans have been shared in great detail with California state and local officials. In good faith, Six Flags Magic Mountain began preparing for reopening by implementing all procedures outlined in our plan, including reconfiguring guest traffic patterns and processes on rides to comply with six-foot social distancing, procurement of safety equipment and cleaning supplies, posting safety signage throughout the park, and training of team members for effective communication and strict enforcement of all mandated guidelines. We are more than ready and eager to reopen our park. Importantly, our team members are ready to welcome our loyal guests.
"It is imperative that the state work with the industry to review all theme parks’ plans and visit the parks to see for themselves the significant efforts to safely and securely reopen during the pandemic. We are asking the state to provide us with achievable next steps in order for California’s theme park industry to successfully come back to life.
"Let’s work together to reopen, and to ensure we keep Californians in California in a safe, fun, and outdoor environment."
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