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Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday told reporters he was not surprised that Disney chairman Bob Iger recently resigned from the state’s coronavirus economic task force.
Disney has been clashing with the state in an attempt to reopen Disneyland. Newsom made it clear Wednesday that will not be happening anytime soon.
“We don’t anticipate in the immediate term any of these larger parks opening until we see more stability in terms of the data,” Newsom said. “We feel there’s no hurry to put out guidelines, and we continue to work with the industry.”
This marks the first time the governor has publicly responded to Disney demanding that guidelines be issued as soon as possible so the destination, shuttered since mid-March, can reopen.
Newsom noted that Iger had been “very active and very participatory” with the task force before he resigned. “It didn’t come as a surprise to me at all. There are disagreements about opening a major theme park. We’re going to let science and data make that determination,” Newsom said.
The governor added that he understood the “frustration” from Disney, but he will not budge. “We are going to be stubborn about it,” Newsom said.
Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences & Products, made clear in September that the company was impatiently waiting for word from the state about a plan to reopen. Furthermore, he said then that failure to agree on terms would result in consequences, such as impacts on the local economy and staff reductions. Then 28,000 layoffs were announced.
Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu on Friday implored Newsom to offer guidance for Disneyland’s and the convention center’s reopening. “There is too much at stake. We need attainable guidelines that allow our theme parks and convention center to safely reopen to get people back to work and restore our economy,” Sidhu said via Twitter. “My invitation still stands for Gov. Newsom to visit Anaheim and see the impact firsthand.”
The California Attractions and Parks Association on Oct. 1 urged the governor to not finalize a draft of the reopening guidance CAPA apparently previewed.
“While we are aligned on many of the protocols and health and safety requirements, there are many others that need to be modified if they are to lead to a responsible and reasonable amusement park reopening plan,” the association wrote in a statement. “We ask the governor not to finalize guidance for amusement parks before engaging the industry in a more earnest manner, listening to park operators’ expertise, and collaborating with the industry on a plan that will allow for amusement parks to reopen responsibly while still keeping the health and safety of park employees and guests a top priority.”
The specifics about what is in the plan that CAPA took exception to remains unclear.
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