California is at political and personal war for the state vs. the themed entertainment industry for it’s larger and smaller theme parks due towards the pandemic that has cause crippling economic and livelihood damage towards all across the state of California. This isn’t just a “Disney” issue as it’s a “state issue” for keeping all of it’s major theme parks across the state ranging from Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld San Diego, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Legoland California and more being “shuttered” within the dark due towards the high restrictive guidelines for keeping these parks in the backseat. Another week is going by as California is under a restrictive color coded system unlike Florida isn’t under this particular system as they have “proven” for their guidelines with the health and safety measures are effective well as all of the major theme parks in Orlando have been reopened up since July of this year.
This past Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom held a press conference as he said for the state of industry for theme parks and teased that “We are going to break up the theme parks, not just one or two brands, it is many different parts of the theme park industry.” Previously Gov. Newsom said “their was no hurry” earlier this month to issue out the guidelines and also saying theme park reopenings for the status of them would be coming “very, very shortly”. As it seems the governor is totally undecided from this circumstance and can’t seem to make up his own mind.
Disneyland for instance has been going under immense amount of pressure and financial losses for it’s closure back in March when the pandemic was hitting as now were left the most difficult decision of laying off 28,000 of it’s Disney Parks & Resorts division at the end of September ranging from California, Florida, Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Cruise Lines. Financial analysts reported towards the OC Register, according to MoffettNathanson founding partner Michael Nathanson are reporting the Disneyland Resort has lost an estimate of $2.2 billion USD, as the resort generates an estimated $3.8 billion, or $10.4 million in daily revenue as those numbers are from 2019. Globally for rest of the Disney Parks & Resorts is estimated lost of $22 billion USD lost as Disney doesn’t typically release their revenue losses towards the media.
A joint coalition for Disneyland’s unions wrote a letter in towards Newsom and addressed by saying “it’s safe to reopen” before Tuesday’s big bombshell of the restrictive guidelines as the unions addressed from the following:
“We wrote you in June 2020 to tell you that we were not yet convinced that it was safe to reopen the parks on Disney’s timetable. Since then, Disney has taken safety measures we advocated, and engaged with their workers’ representatives, that our original position has changed,” the unions’ letter reads. “The company has provided detail on serious measures to protect workers via social distancing, providing PPE, addressing ventilation, and more. Most recently, the company unveiled a testing program, something we highlighted in our last letter to you.” from the letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Now flash forwarding and here’s what went down as this will be broken down into towards the state of California, theme parks, and the cities & counties within California in response from this week guidelines update:
State Of California
Dr. Mark Ghaly as California’s director of Health and Human Services said on Tuesday that smaller theme parks can operate once they hit the state’s “Orange tier” and for outside attractions “may reopen” and only towards guests who are residents within the same county. Capacity will be 25% for it’s limitations of 500 people or less. Flipping towards the side of the major theme parks which includes Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Legoland California, SeaWorld San Diego etc., have to under the Tier 4 level of the “Yellow tier” as it’s one the more harder tiers to hit of 25% across establishments of attractions and indoor dining. Dr. Gahly said that masks must be worn in all parks at all times, except when visitors are eating or drinking. Reservations will be required for all parks, with temperature checks at the gate.
As of currently Orange County, that is home towards Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm are, is currently in the “Red Tier”. Los Angeles, is home to Universal Studios, is in the most restrictive tier being “Purple” or meaning unable to reopen up.
California’s major theme parks got a negative reaction for “unfair” comparison of theme parks towards outdoor sports stadiums as also Dr. Gahly provided the information down below from Tuesday’s conference:
Source: (© California Department of Public Health)
Dr. Ghaly said that theme parks are a “higher risk setting,” while outdoor sporting events are a “lower risk setting” and for those parks that do reopen as Gahly promised “regular inspections will occur” during the conference. Gov. Newsom dispatched his teams for a field trip for collecting research within Florida earlier this month being reported by the OC Register from their takeaways of what they observed.
California’s Theme Parks
The state of California immediately put a bullet into California’s theme park and it reversed 180 degrees fast as all of the major parks backfired with their own responses including The California Attractions and Parks Association.
The California Attractions and Parks Association which represents theme parks big and small in the state addressed many statements and said that “noting that there is not a single documented case of COVID transmission at an amusement park. That’s despite parks in Florida and across the globe having reopened.” according to Deadline.
Universal Studios Hollywood‘s President & COO, Karen Irwin addressed that ” We should be in Tier Three, along with other industries that have proven they can reopen responsibly,” “Our employees are ready to go back to work and the fact that they won’t be able to do so until well into next year is shameful.”
As of this an update from the time of this article that President Irwin is considering partial reopening for retail and dining for Universal Studios Hollywood from a news conference held today by NBC LA Today and from Theme Park Insider with it’s theme park industry leaders from Disneyland and Legoland and calling out Newsom “unfair” to keep them closed for the foreseeable future.
President Irwin response from down below:
“Pushing us into Tier Four behind other businesses that have already reopened makes no sense. It ignores science, reason and the economic devastation this will bring to the thousands of our employees, the indirect businesses that rely on us and our industry overall. The health and safety of our guests and team members has always been our top priority. We have designed detailed health and safety protocols that allowed us to open our theme parks in Orlando, Osaka and Singapore. We have collaborated with LA County health and government officials on a comprehensive plan to move forward safely here, and we are prepared and ready to reopen. Our theme parks are controlled primarily outdoor businesses that we have proven we can operate responsibly.”President Irwin & COO of Universal Studios Hollywood
Irwin said of yesterday it “makes no sense” of why they cannot reopen up like rest of their industry leaders for theme parks. Universal Studios Hollywood’s official Twitter account made a cheeky remark for firing back against Newsom and California.
And unfortunately the latest status for the unemployment affected for Universal Studios Hollywood and an update on California health officials.
SeaWorld San Diego falls under the same scenario as Orange County as of currently falls within the tier identified as having the second-most restrictive “substantial” risk level. Dr Gahly shared more of that information from yesterday’s conference from the following:
“We don’t have a crystal ball,” Ghaly said during a Tuesday news conference. “I don’t’ know when Orange County or San Diego County will indeed enter yellow (the least restrictive tier), but I think there is lots of work we can do together, both state, local, business leaders, community leaders, individuals, to do what we can to reduce transmission throughout our counties, and there is a path forward there.”
“We do not know when but we do know how. And I think we’ll continue to put in the hard work to get it us there, one county at a time.”Source: San Diego Tribune
SeaWorld didn’t comment on the subject matter, but the coalition of California theme parks that includes the marine park, was also strongly critical of the latest guidelines.
Disney as many of that have been following along has been the main focus lately for pushing California to get them reopen up sooner than later. When the guidelines were shared yesterday as within moments later as Disneyland President, Ken Potrock issued a statement back from down below:
Potrock said that more layoffs would come as a result of guidelines that he calls “arbitrary” and “unworkable”. At the time of the news shared yesterday as President Potrock addressed towards his fellow cast members in a letter and said “they’ll keep working until Disneyland opens up again” from the following:
Once again, I find myself sharing news that I’d hoped would be very different. Today, despite our best efforts to advocate for a different outcome, the governor’s office announced that large California theme parks have been placed in the state’s most restrictive category for reopening.
Clearly, this news is challenging for us and comes during what has already been an incredibly difficult month. To say I am disappointed and saddened is an understatement, particularly since 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 in place for our Cast and our Guests.
I know this news will prompt questions about what this means for our Cast, our community and the overall resort. I can’t answer those questions today as we are doing our best to understand the implications of this decision. I know there are tens of thousands of people – including each one of you – whose livelihoods rely on the theme park industry in Southern California. We will not stop working until we reopen Disneyland Resort so we can bring our Cast back to work, get the local economy moving and share the magic and joy of Disney once again.Source: BlogMickey
Previously Chairman Bob Iger of The Walt Disney Company resigned from Gov. Newsom’s Economic Recovery Advisory Group due towards tensions with the state and it’s other theme park operators.
As another update from today their is more information that was given out by CAPA and the association is considering in seeking legal action against the state as an option. From today’s conference with CAPA that was held by Executive Director Erin Guerrero and when asked if parks would be considering any legal action to get the parks to reopen in the state, Guerrero stated that “all options are open at this point.”
Guerrero further explained into detail:
“I think that all options are open at this point, we’re going to continue to explore our options, our number one goal is to be allowed to reopen responsibly. Obviously we’d love to keep that conversation going and come up with a reasonable timeline for reopenings, but at this point, any options are viable.”Executive Director Guerrero of CAPA
From locally within the different cites and counties of California have shared their thoughts of how these restrictive guidelines are hard and how it can affect their local communities and the Southern California economy and the tier levels of the color coded system.
President Potrock said within his statement from yesterday about this subject matter that “for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands more people out of work and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community.” Even Director Guerrero of CAPA is urging Newsom to revise his plans since as before, all of the presidential leaders within the theme park industry don’t fully agree with the guidelines according to Deadline.
Guerrero did go into more detail that:
The plan will prolong unemployment for tens of thousands of people and hasten bankruptcy for families and small businesses that rely on theme parks to be open. Guerrero ends her letter by urging Newsom to revise the guidance to allow theme parks to open in the orange “moderate” tier.
Researchers at Cal State Fullerton estimate that the Disneyland Resort alone normally contributes $8.5 billion a year to Southern California’s economy and, before the pandemic, employed about 31,000 workers, representing 3.6% of all jobs in Orange County according to LA Times. Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu also weighed on the situation with these so called “guidelines”:
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D–Fullerton) called the guidelines “disappointing.”
“These guidelines will have a significant impact on the tourism industry and the surrounding business sectors throughout California. I will continue to collaborate with the governor and our industry leaders as we work to continue to follow the data and have everyone return safely back to our theme parks in a reasonable time period,” Quirk-Silva said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “
On the other hand Orange County Health officials and other health experts also weighed on their thoughts for theme parks. From Orange County Health Care Agency Director Clayton Chau shared his optimism and his prediction for a vaccine to treat the public and to be needed for a county the size of Orange County to enter the yellow tier from the following:
“I think for a large county like us, especially a county with institutions of higher education where folks come in from outside the county and outside the state, it’s going to be very hard to achieve the yellow tier,” Chau said. “Personally, I think that we can look forward to a yellow tier by next summer, hopefully.”Source: OC Register
Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, an epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, called the state’s approach to reopening theme parks “prudent and reasonable.”
“Theme parks are potential areas of transmission,” he said. “I don’t think we want to trade off opening up a theme park if it means that our children are not going to be able to go back to in-person classrooms because the increase in transmission could occur.” also from the LA Times.
Their is a lot mixed responses within the media and general public of how California’s theme parks are being a hot topic of conversation and it’s not fully certain if CAPA and rest of the theme park industry will peruse with a lawsuit against the state as right these neogations change day by day and week to week.
For for a personal opinion here and we want the parks to reopen up and want jobs over profits to get the economy flowing again and more importantly health and safety is the top priority to help the workforce of this certain industry.
This the latest update for now for the state of California vs. it’s theme parks.
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