Gov. Newsom Says He Is in ‘No Hurry’ to Reopen Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood

Don’t expect Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and Knott’s Berry Farm aren’t opening anytime soon, said California Gov. Gavin Newsom at a press conference Tuesday.

Newsom there is “no hurry in putting out guidelines,” but state officials are continuing to work with amusement parks in California after the pandemic prompted closures in March. He called the process “very complex,” adding, “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.”

He also revealed, following reports last week that Disney executive chairman Bob Iger had stepped down from the state’s economic recovery task force, that there were disagreements in working out guidelines for reopening Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other theme parks.

“I had a wonderful conversation with Bob [Iger], who had been very active and participatory in our task force and we’re incredibly grateful for his support, his insight and his counsel over the period of the last number of months — and it didn’t come as a surprise to me at all,” said Newsom.

“There’s disagreements in terms of opening a major theme park,” he added. “We’re going to let science and data make that determination. I understand the dialectic, the friction, that many business leaders have that they want to move forward sectorally [sic] to reopen, but we are going to be led by a health-first framework and we’re going to be stubborn about it.”

Newsom’s comments follow the Walt Disney Company’s announcement last Tuesday that it would lay off more than 28,000 employees amid the continued COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced businesses across the country to temporarily close or limit capacity. Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. has kept its doors closed since mid-March, while Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. reopened with reduced attendance limits and increases safety measures in July. Non-working employees have been on furlough since April; two-thirds of the impacted 28,000 U.S. workers are part-time.

A Workers United Local 50 spokesperson told Variety on Friday that over 2,800 Disneyland food and beverage staffers it represents will be laid off, making it the hardest-hit union by sheer numbers. Per the union’s recent post on Facebook, 2,858 of 7,796 members who work at the Disney parks will be impacted. Local 50 says it is one of the few unions that has full-time workers on the company’s list of layoffs.

Disney Parks head Josh D’Amaro previously blamed the state’s “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen” exacerbated the situation. Over 823,000 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the state, including over 16,100 deaths.

One Disneyland worker, who wanted to remain anonymous out of concern of professional repercussions, felt it was “distressing” that Disney executives’ salaries had been restored to pre-pandemic levels following a months-long reduction, given the layoff news this week. In April, the company reduced salaries of vice president-level executives and above by 20%, senior VP pay by 25%, and exec VP-level staff by 30%.

The theme park staffer added: “There’s an extreme wealth gap and with COVID, society has become even more aware of that. When a third of the employees are losing their jobs and then these people who already were making more than these part-time hourly cast members get their money back, it’s very out of touch. For every good message that comes out of Disney, there’s something like that that comes out.“

Source: Read Full Article