Today California released guidelines for the reopening of theme parks in the state as it attempts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Within hours, the Disneyland Resort president rejected them. He was shortly followed by a statement from the Mayor of Anaheim doing the same. As the afternoon continued, more voices joined the chorus of opposition to the reopening guidelines. These statements against the guidelines added to Ken Potrock, President, Disneyland Resort’s original statement. Below is a look at the statements that were released shortly after the guidelines were announced.

Erin Guerrero, Executive Director of the California Attractions and Parks Association

Erin Guerror, Executive Director of the California Attractions and Parks Association had plenty to say on California’s theme park reopening guidelines.

“To say today’s announcement on theme parks is disappointing would be a grave understatement. The Governor has not used science or data to inform his decision. Theme parks have opened and operated safely around the world for months. Data and science prove that theme parks can operate responsibly anywhere – there is no rational reason to believe they can’t do so in California. No one cares more about park employee and guest safety than the parks themselves.”

She continued on saying, “Let me be unequivocal– the guidance issued by the Newsom Administration will keep theme parks shuttered for the foreseeable future. By forcing amusement parks to stay closed until their home county reaches Tier 4, the Governor has issued a “Keep Theme Parks Closed Indefinitely” Plan which will devastate California’s major theme park industry.”

Guerrero also touched on the unemployment concerns that the guidelines raise saying, “This plan prolongs unemployment for tens of thousands of people, hastens bankruptcy for families and small business owners adjacent to parks, and contributes to insolvency for local governments whose budgets rely on parks as an anchor economic driver.”

Another issue with the reopening guidelines is the different approaches for different sized parks. Guerrero shared that “While we appreciate the more nuanced approach in the guidance for smaller theme parks, keeping California’s larger parks closed is unfair and unreasonable. Based on the responsible reopening of parks in other countries and states, science and data do not support the indefinite closure of this iconic industry in California.”

She concluded saying, “Responsibly reopening amusement parks on a reasonable timeline can and should be done while we fight this pandemic – the two are not mutually exclusive. California’s theme parks and their phenomenal workforce are ready to reopen responsibly. Parks’ loyal guests are ready and the communities and local governments surrounding the parks are ready. We urge Governor Newsom to revise this guidance to allow for a reasonable and responsible reopening of California’s signature theme park industry in Tier 3.”

Dr. Clayton Chau, Director, Orange County Health Care Agency

Dr. Clayton Chau, the Director for the Orange County Health Care Agency had a dire perspective on the reopening guidelines. He also felt that beyond giving a dismal outlook for the future of the county, that the guidelines are unfair.

Dr. Chau said, “I think for a large county like us, especially a county with institution of higher education where folks [are] coming in from outside the county and outside the state, I think it’s going to be very hard to achieve the yellow tier.”

Chau was also uncertain as to when Orange County could make it into the yellow tier. He said that, “It depends on when the vaccine will come as well as how many doses [are] available for our populations as well as how many of our residents will readily accept the vaccine – those are the three factors that will determine how soon we can get to the yellow tier.”

Chau concluded by saying, “Personally, I think that we can look forward to a yellow tier by next summer, hopefully. Hopefully.”

Castle Inn, Bharat Patel

The Castle Inn has been a well-known landmark on Harbor Boulevard for years. Unfortunately, this may not be the case for much longer. Bharat Patel shared, “I don’t think we can hold on much longer.” Both the business and employees have been struggling since the Castle Inn closed in March. It is one of many businesses around the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim that is currently facing extinction as the Disneyland Resort continues to remain closed.

Many other businesses around the Disneyland Resort are struggling to survive without the added draw of the Disneyland Resort to bring business to their doors. A study on the economic impact of the Disneyland Resort on the community found that it generated $23 million in daily revenue for the Southern California economy. The Disneyland Resort itself generated $10.8 million daily according to the study from MoffettNathanson.

What will happen next in regards to reopening the Disneyland Resort and the impact of local businesses currently is unknown. What their options are at this point also are unknown and appear to be quite limited.

What do you think about the guidelines for theme park reopening that was released by California today and the responses they generated? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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