UPDATED with CARA statement: In a relatively short update today, California Governor Gavin Newsom hinted that movement is occurring between the Golden State and the likes of Disney and Universal over getting “people back to work” at some of the larger and smaller theme parks in the region.
While not giving any details, the former San Francisco Mayor said that “good faith” negotiations are based on a “health first frame mentality”.
Newsom appeared to indicate that more information on talks with Disney, Universal, and smaller theme park companies could be coming later this week.
“We’re gong back and forth, said Newsome during a Q&A following his statement before the cameras. The governor noted that state is “doing our own research on the viability of reopening the theme parks sooner rather than later.”
“I want to see more businesses reopen,” the California chief executive added, giving no specific to timelines today.
Erin Guerrero, Executive Director of the trade group California Parks and Attractions Association, issued a response to Newsom on Monday. Read it below.
While never naming the Bob Iger and Bob Chapek-run House of Mouse, nor the Comcast-owned Universal, the governor did say that Halloween guidelines would be coming tomorrow from the state – a pretty clear sign that some form of movement is afoot.
Talks between Disneyland and California have been contentious. Last Thursday, Newsom said he was in “no hurry” to issue COVID-19 safety guidelines at theme parks. The resulted in Newsom getting slammed by the California Attractions and Parks Association, which reps the interests of parks big and small across the state including Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm and many others.
In addition Newsom’s statements last Thursday ignited Dr. Pamela Hymel, Chief Medical Officer, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products who exclaimed “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. Our health and safety protocols were developed in consultation with epidemiologists and data scientists, and after considering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and experts in local government and health agencies.”
Recently Disney announced that Walt Disney World in Florida would lay off 8,857 part-time union employees as part of the 28,000 staff cuts the entertainment giant announced late last month.
As well as briefly touching on the theme park issue in his prepared remarks and promising an update on the status of Halloween in the state of California, Governor Newsom primarily discussed testing, new hospitalization numbers, and wildfires on Monday
“We’re going to forge forward,” declared the governor on the coronavirus pandemic that has hit California hard. On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Newsom also detailed that there had been 3,449 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in California as of Oct. 11, “slightly higher than our seven-day average.”
The state commonly gives a deeper update on the coronavirus every Tuesday once comprehensive results from the weekend have come in.
Here is Guerrero’s statement statement from CARA:
“It was heartening to hear Governor Newsom share that his administration is ready to work with the theme park industry.
“Theme parks have developed comprehensive, robust plans for reopening, inclusive of input from international health and safety experts. We also have the benefit of experience from theme parks in other states and around the world that have successfully reopened with extensive new protocols and modifications to protect guest and employees. Data and science do not point to theme parks as sources of transmission of COVID-19, showing that fighting the pandemic and responsible reopening can occur simultaneously.
“We applaud the governor for accepting our invitation to visit California’s iconic parks and we are eager to work together so theme parks can reopen responsibly and soon. Doing so will allow tens of thousands of people to get back to work and provide a much-needed jump start for local and state economies that have been decimated by the shutdown.”