A large group of California state senators and assemblymembers sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday requesting that Newsom issue guidelines for parks such as Disneyland, Universal Studios and Knott’s Berry Farm to reopen.
This comes one week after Newsom promised he would issue such guidelines “very soon.”
From the letter:
Many indoor facilities are already operating safely at reduced capacities, with face covering and physical distancing requirements, and with heightened hygiene practices. Logic would suggest that since theme parks are controlled venues operating predominantly outdoors, that they too could reopen with similar health and safety protocols.
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Josh D’Amaro, the new chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products last Tuesday begged California officials to let Disneyland reopen and to “treat theme parks the way you treat other sectors.”
Monday’s letter makes a similar argument, noting that Newsom had issued reopening guidance for virtually every business sector to comply with, but:
Theme Parks have not been addressed in this Blueprint – they have no path forward, no guidance documents for the state’s expectations related to reopening, and no sense of timing to share with their anxious employees and guests. Counties are already beginning to move through tiers and yet none know when this large sector within their communities will be allowed to reopen.
Wrote D’Amaro last week: “To our California government officials, particularly at the state level, I encourage you to treat theme parks like you would other sectors and help us reopen. We need guidelines that are fair and equitable so we can better understand our future and chart a path toward reopening,” said D’Amaro, who took the top parks job in May.
The legislators’ letter maintains that theme parks closed down voluntarily six months ago and have been working diligently to create “comprehensive plans that include capacity reductions, thorough health and
safety protocols, and park-wide modifications to support these efforts.”
The letter echoes one of Newsom’s mantras, which is that data should guide decisionmaking.
Legislators contend that, “Data seems to point to a path for responsible reopening of theme parks. Doing so will not only provide safe, outdoor activities for families but also put people back to work and generate much needed income for our local governments.”
Jobs were also near the front of D’Amaro’s mind last week when he observed, “The longer we wait, the more devastating the impact will be to the Orange County and Anaheim communities and to 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.”
“We’re ready,” maintained D’Amaro. “And more importantly, it’s time.”