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New reopening guidelines likely to keep Disneyland closed until summer of 2021

1 month 2 days 14 hours ago Wednesday, October 21 2020 Oct 21, 2020 October 21, 2020 7:29 AM October 21, 2020 in News
Source: The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM, California - The state of California may have cleared theme parks to reopen after more than seven months of coronavirus closures, but the happiest place on earth is not among the parks that will likely be allowed to reopen.

Shortly after the state's decision was revealed, the theme park's officials, not so happy at the moment, issued a strongly worded public statement regarding the local government's decision.

Upon learning that, based on California Gov. Gavin Newsom's recently amended four-tiered reopening plan, Disneyland may not be able to reopen until the summer of 2021, Disney Parks fired off a statement from its Twitter account, saying in part, "We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world. Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities."

The company's statement insinuated that California's decision would result in financial devastation for, not only Disney, but for the entire community, saying, "these State guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands more people out of work, leading to the inevitable closure of small family-owned businesses, and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community."

Disneyland isn't the only company impacted by the expanded reopening guidelines California has mandated for its large theme parks, the rules will also impact Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, SeaWorld San Diego, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Legoland California and other California theme parks can reopen under newly issued protocols that require mandatory masks, social distancing, increased sanitization, reduced attraction capacity and employee training.

State officials issued a separate set of guidelines for its smaller theme parks, allowing these to reopen in the “moderate” tier at 25% capacity or 500 in-county visitors, whichever is fewer, with admission by reservation only in the “moderate” tier. 

Based on the new guidelines, attractions such as Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other large theme parks cannot reopen for months until their respective counties reach the least-restrictive “minimal” risk level.

Other theme parks are joining Disney in speaking out against the new guidelines. 

According to The Orange County Register, Six Flags Magic Mountain president Don McCoy said he was deeply disappointed with the state’s decision to keep large theme parks in the yellow “minimal” tier.

“Six Flags Magic Mountain is well positioned to re-open, however this latest news could effectively keep us closed indefinitely,” McCoy said in a statement.

Additionally, Legoland California president Kurt Stocks called the Newsom administration’s new theme park guidelines “arbitrary and unacceptable.”

“The administration’s actions to this point have cost tens of thousands of jobs across the industry, and today’s announcement will all but confirm that thousands more will be lost,” Stocks said in a statement.

Disney's net income in 2019 was 11.05 billion U.S. dollars, marking one of the highest figures to date. In the same year, the company announced record revenue of 69.57 billion U.S. dollars.

But the company's profitability suffered a severe blow when it was forced to close as the COVID-19 pandemic expanded its devastating reach into nations across the globe, forcing theme parks and other businesses to close in nearly every country.

By the end of the summer of 2020, the Walt Disney Co. had lost nearly $5 billion due to the shuttering of its theme parks and at this point, officials are eager to recover from the loss. 

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