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Governor says “no hurry” to reopen theme parks in California

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California Governor Gavin Newsom has now said that he is in “no hurry” to reopen Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood and other theme parks in California.

During a news conference on October 7, Newsom said (via The OCR): “We are going to be led by a health-first framework and we’re going to be stubborn about it.

“That’s our commitment – that’s our resolve. We feel there’s no hurry putting out guidelines.”

“We’re continuing to work with the industry,” added Newsom. “It’s very complex. These are like small cities, small communities, small towns.

“But we don’t anticipate, in the immediate term, any of these larger theme parks opening until we see more stability in terms of the data.”

‘There’s no hurry putting out guidelines,’ says Newsom

This comes just after Newsom’s chief medical officer said state officials plan to issue theme park reopening guidelines “as soon as possible”.

Speaking at a news conference on October 6, California Health and Human Services secretary Mark Ghaly said: “I’m not sure when those conversations will wrap up.

“I will tell you that they will wrap up as soon as we come to really hear the industry and understand some of the concerns.

“We continue to look at the data and information that we have. So, no promise of a specific date, but I will say as soon as possible.”

Disney Parks and CAPA respond to Newsom

In response to Newsom’s comments, CAPA executive director Erin Guerrero said the organisation finds it “disconcerting that Governor Newsom has no planned timeline for issuing guidance for theme parks and of great concern that he does not anticipate theme parks opening soon”.

“Each day that parks are closed further decimates the amusement park industry,” she added. “The governor’s ‘no big rush’ approach is ruining businesses and livelihoods for thousands who could responsibly be back at work.”

Disney Parks chief medical officer Pamela Hymel also hit back at Newsom, saying: “We absolutely reject the suggestion that reopening the Disneyland Resort is incompatible with a ‘health-first’ approach.

“The fact is, that since March we have taken a robust science-based approach to responsibly reopening our parks and resorts across the globe.”

“Ruining businesses and livelihoods for thousands”

“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, added Hymel.

Earlier this week, California delayed plans to issue reopening guidelines and said that it would work with theme park operators to finalise the guidelines.

Disney is laying off approximately 28,000 employees due to the prolonged impact of COVID-19.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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