There have been no reports of COVID-19 outbreaks at the 20 largest amusement parks in the nation, the OC Register reported yesterday. Meanwhile, California theme parks remain shuttered after six months – with devastating effects for their local economies – while waiting for Governor Gavin Newsom’s office to figure out guidelines to allow them to do what theme parks all over the nation are already doing safely: re-open.
According to OC Register:
“No COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported at Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Six Flags, Legoland and Cedar Fair parks in Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Virginia and Michigan, according to state health agencies and theme park officials.”
Obviously, the science and data demonstrate that theme parks know how to open and operate safely during this pandemic. And yet Governor Newsom continues to drag his feet on issuing guidelines for theme parks to re-open. It is literally the only segment of the Californai economy for which Newsom’s office has not issued guidelines. The sole reason the Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure and other California theme parks remain closed is inaction by Governor Newsom’s office. And that inaction is due in large part to lobbying by unions like UNITE-HERE Local 11 that are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic as a bargaining chip – content to let their members languish without work for month after month when they could have gone back to work in mid-July.
The economic impact of the Disneyland Resort’s closure has been calamitous. The tens of thousands of cast members have been thrown out of work. Hotel occupancy in the Anaheim Resort has plummeted accordingly, precipitating further layoffs. The Resort generated approximately half of Anaheim’s general fund revenues; it’s closure has torn a enormous hole in city revenues. Governor Newsom’s failure to issue theme park guidelines is needlessly prolonging the agony.
Disney knows how to re-open safely. The company has been safely operating the much larger Walt Disney World in Orlando since July. The company was ready to re-open the Disneyland Resort in mid-July. Disney has clearly show in can do so.
The weight of empirical data and experience is overwhelmingly in favor of allowing the Disneyland Resort to re-open. Our knowledge of the virus, how to treat it and how to live and work with it has increased exponentially during the past six months. Continuation of this arbitrary shutdown serves no reasonable objectives and is destructive to Anaheim. It’s time to allow the Resort to re-open and allow workers and businesses to resume their lives.