Disneyland: Calif. governor says there’s ‘no hurry’ to reopen theme parks with COVID-19 rules

LOS ANGELES — Disneyland and other large theme parks in the Golden State won’t be reopening anytime soon, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

In fact, he said the state “is in no hurry in putting out guidelines,” the rules that theme parks would need to operate safely as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage. His grim pronouncement marked a turnabout from last month, when Newsom said he expected the guidelines to be issued “very, very shortly” as the state negotiated with the industry.

Newsom’s latest declaration comes as a blow to Disneyland and to the city of Anaheim, east of Los Angeles, where what is normally the Happiest Place on Earth is the largest employer. 

“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,” Newsom said at a news conference.

Besides the Disneyland Resort complex, which also includes the California Adventure theme park, southern California is also home to Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood and SeaWorld San Diego.

Disneyland has been shuttered since March, when businesses across the country shut down in response to the pandemic. While Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, reopened with reduced capacity in July, Anaheim’s Disneyland has remained closed even as California has seen a gradual reduction in the number of new COVID-19 infections and deaths.

A trade group presenting theme parks, the California Attractions and Parks Association, said there is no reason for the attractions to remain closed when there is ample evidence they can reopen safely.

“We find it disconcerting that Governor Newsom has no planned timeline for issuing guidance for theme parks, and of great concern that he does not anticipate theme parks opening soon,” wrote Executive Director Erin Guerrero.

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