Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products, made the request in a Tuesday stakeholder webcast, contending that state officials should allow its signature theme park to begin operations again. He added that the theme park sector has not received equivalent treatment to other sectors of the state’s economy.
“To our California government officials, particularly at the state level: I encourage you to treat theme parks like you would other sectors and help us reopen,” D’Amaro said. “We need guidelines that are fair and equitable so we can better understand our future and chart a path toward reopening.”
“The longer we wait, the more devastating the impact will be to the Orange County and Anaheim communities and to the tens of thousands of people who rely on us for employment,” he added. “With the right guidelines and our years of operations experience, I am confident that we can restart and get people back to work.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated at his Sept. 15 news conference that theme park restrictions could be lifted soon, but did not specify a location: “We will be making announcements soon as it relates to theme parks and amusement parks. Very, very shortly.”
Popular on Variety
On Sept. 15, the city of Anaheim called on Newsom to reopen Disneyland and its adjacent Disney California Adventure, noting that the six-month closure had led to a $100 million shortfall in city revenues.
Tuesday’s Disney presentation also included an update on the Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando, Fla., which were reopened in July after being closed in mid-March. D’Amaro asserted that Disney’s handling of the Florida operations indicates that it should be able to reopen Disneyland safely.
“As you can see from this discussion today, we’re ready. And more importantly, it’s time,” he said.
Newsom did not discuss theme parks during his Monday news conference, nor did California Health and Human Services Director Mark Ghaly at his Tuesday news conference. Ghaly announced that five counties would be moving from the “purple” tier into the less restrictive “red” stage of the state’s COVID-19 reopening tiers: Riverside, Alameda, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo and Solano. Orange County movie theaters began reopening on Sept. 8 after California moved the county into the red tier from the purple tier.
California officials reported Tuesday that the state has totaled 15,071 deaths from COVID-19 from 784,324 cases.