Newsom defends California theme park reopening rules as Disneyland remains closed

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California doesn’t seem any closer to leaving Disneyland or other major theme parks open.

Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke about the controversy over the state’s order to keep parks closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying people should be concerned about the opening of parks that “mix up from all walks of life possible and [put] we and others are at risk of increasing transmission rates, ”Deadline reported.

Newsom, without specifying Disney by name, said one of the theme park operators was the most talked about, but that there are “dozens and dozens” of parks in the state.

“You have theme parks that are actually cities, that operate hotels and restaurants, not just organize themselves around carousels and other amenities,” he said, by Deadline. “You see others that are on the beaches and the boardwalks. It’s very, very different. “

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A Walt Disney Co. representative did not immediately respond to FOX Business’s request for the governor’s comments.

Last week, the company tweeted a statement from Ken Potrock, the president of Disneyland Resort, saying that Disney has “proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced in our theme park properties around the world.

The Disney World Resort in Florida has reopened with limited capacity and added health protocols, as have some other Disney parks overseas.

“Nonetheless, the state of California continues to ignore this fact, instead imposing arbitrary guidelines it knows to be impractical and which hold us to a very different standard from other reopened businesses and state-run facilities,” Potrock said in the statement.

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In California, Disney has begun a gradual reopening of its Downtown Disney District, an outdoor shopping center. But Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, and Disneyland Resort hotels remain closed.

State officials said theme parks could only reopen if they are located in ‘minimal’ coronavirus counties with less than one new case per day per 100,000 residents and less than 2% COVID testing positive. However, no county in the state was at this point. Officials last week added that small parks could reopen in “moderate” counties with fewer than four new cases per day per capita and less than 5% positive tests.

The coronavirus outbreak in Orange County, where Disneyland is located, is still deemed “substantial” by the state. As of Tuesday, there were more than five new cases per day per 100,000 population and a positivity rate of 3.2%, according to the state.

Disney has begun a gradual reopening of its Downtown Disney District, an outdoor shopping center. But Disneyland and its hotels remain closed. (Images AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC)

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Large parks like Disneyland could wait a long time if they have to meet the “minimum” rating to reopen. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said last week that he hoped to reach that level by “next summer,” he said in a statement to FOX Business.

Disney isn’t the only major park operator to criticize the order of the state. The industry has organized itself as part of the California Attractions & Parks Association to push authorities to allow the parks to reopen.

“We take the health and safety of our customers and employees seriously – we cannot function without a healthy workforce and without consumer confidence,” the group tweeted on Monday.

CALIFORNIA AMUSEMENT PARKS MAY BE SHUT DOWN FOR EVEN LONGER DUE TO STATE-BASED CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

However, Newsom pointed to the continued increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States as a reason not to change course.

“Ultimately, we are seeing an increase in the interchanged transmission of COVID-19 [in the] the vast majority of states in this country, ”Newsom said, according to Deadline. “This should be alarming for all Americans. We are seeing an increase in case rates all over the world. “

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