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California’s New Rules Won’t Let Disneyland Open Anytime Soon

Disney is not pleased with California’s new guidelines for when and how parks can reopen. The park in Anaheim, California, has been closed down since March due to the coronavirus. With the new guidelines set, Disney is already calling the mandates “arbitrary”  and, once again, criticizing the state of California’s representatives. Disneyland will remain closed, without question, for the rest of the year.

The new restrictions revealed smaller theme parks can reopen if they are within the state’s “Orange Tier,” which is a part of the state’s tier system. When infection numbers steadily go down in a county, more businesses can reopen. The state of California has divided parks into two categories for two different sets of rules: parks with 15,000 or fewer guests and parks with 15,000 and over. Disneyland is well over 15,000 guests.

Disney is concerned because major parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood can only resume business in Tier 4, Yellow, which is a long ways away. Los Angeles County, for example, is still in Tier 1. Orange County, which is where Disneyland is located, remains in the second most restrictive Tier, Red. It’s very possible Disneyland won’t reopen until next summer. 

The state of California released a breakdown of their new rules for parks: 

-One-way foot traffic and clear directions to better control the flow of guests throughout the park, especially in certain heavily used and/or narrow throughways

-Plexiglass dividers on switchback lines/queues for attractions and concessions, or close sections of switchback lines/queues to ensure sufficient physical distance between visitors

-Implement timed and/or advanced reservation ticketing systems and pre-assigned seating or activity areas

-Discontinue tours or guided experiences that combine households or individuals from different households into the same tour group (Disneyland’s Haunted House comes to mind here)

-Face coverings are mandatory on attractions and rides throughout the park.

-No indoor lines are allowed for any attraction or ride.

Disney continues to lose money from the closing Disneyland, so the company has once again attacked the state of California representative’s decision-making. “We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world,” said Disneyland Resort president Ken Potrock. “Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities.” 

Recently, Disney Chairman and former CEO, Bob Iger, quit Governor Gavin Newsom’s economic task force due to disagreements over reopening Disneyland. The California Attractions and Parks Association, like Disney, is unhappy with the new guidelines. The Association represents major and minor theme parks and argues there’s been no proof of coronavirus transmissions at parks. 

Disney, however, has continued not to acknowledge a bombshell report that Disney World is allegedly covering up COVID-19 cases among staff and telling them to return to work before 14-days of quarantine. Allegedly, Disney World’s management was putting employees and customers at risk, knowing active employees had the virus. 

Disney has lost well over $5 billion this year from the shutdowns. Even worse, the company recently laid off 28,000 employees. Although the company’s statement about the layoffs pointed fingers at the state of California’s rules, Sen. Elizabeth Warren pointed out that thousands of the layoffs are happening at the Florida park. Warren sent Disney a series of questions about the layoffs and bonuses for Senior Executives that remain unanswered.