In a rare instance of bipartisanship, two California assembly members, Sharon Quirk Silva, D-Buena Park and Suzette Valladares R-Santa Clarita, are planning to co-sponsor a bill that would allow major theme parks to reopen in the moderate, orange, tier 3 level rather than the more difficult, yet safer, minimal, yellow, tier 4 level. The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim California would fall into the major theme park category and the tiers are established on a county by county basis.
Governor Gavin Newsom created the tier system and placed the large theme parks in tier 4 late last year. Representatives for Disneyland and Universal Studios called the move “unworkable” and publicly blasted the State for not working closer with the parks.
Both Disneyland and the California Attractions and Parks Association, who represent Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and more, have pointed to the safety measures they have installed in large parks in Florida and around the world. To date, there have been no Covid-19 outbreaks tied to any of these theme parks.
While some critics may argue that Florida’s alleged lack of transparency in regard to contact tracing might undercut that argument, no one has meaningfully disproved Disney’s claim. While Florida’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis has, at times, been criticized, there have been no allegations of any outbreaks associated with Walt Disney World, no allegations of any corner cutting in regard to safety measures, and the parks have received an overwhelmingly positive response from guests.
Currently there are two other Disney resorts that are currently operating during the pandemic: Shanghai Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland Resort. Neither of those two resorts have reported any issues regarding Covid-19 outbreaks. It is important to note that Tokyo Disneyland is operated by the Oriental Land Company and simply licenses Disney’s intellectual property. Disneyland Paris is currently closed, along with Hong Kong Disneyland, due to a wider government shutdown, both parks had been open at times during the pandemic and neither park has been linked to any Covid-19 outbreaks.
The bipartisan legislation being proposed in California will meet pushback from Governor Newsom and many who feel the benefit of these strict guidelines outweigh the costs endured. New cases, positive case rates, and hospitalizations continue to trend down in Orange County, where Disneyland resides, which is giving fans, employees, and the company a lot of hope. While numbers are dropping, unless this bill is passed, it will still be a very long time before Disneyland and other large California theme parks can open.
We will be following this bill as it is proposed and voted on. So keep checking back with The DisInsider for all of the latest.