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California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that he was sending members of his staff to Walt Disney World to see firsthand how the theme park is operating amid the pandemic as the company is demanding Disneyland be allowed to reopen.
Disney has pointed to the success of the destination since Disney World reopened in July with no known cases of COVID-19 linked to the park. It appears Newsom heard the argument, so now he wants his team to “get a better idea of what is going on.”
“I want folks to come back and tell me what they saw, what their experience was,” Newsom told reporters Monday during a routine press briefing. It is unclear who will be in Newsom’s traveling team or when they are going. It is also unclear if they will tour Disneyland, which has put numerous health and safety measures in place.
The governor did not say the team would only be visiting Disney World; they may go to Universal Orlando, too, but Disney has been the most outspoken about allowing its SoCal theme park to reopen.
“We applaud the governor for accepting our invitation to visit California’s iconic parks and we are eager to work together so theme parks can reopen responsibly and soon,” Erin Guerrero, executive director of California Attractions & Parks Association said in a statement. “Doing so will allow tens of thousands of people to get back to work and provide a much-needed jump start for local and state economies that have been decimated by the shutdown.”
The update on the matter comes after Newsom said last week the state was in “no hurry” to allow theme parks to reopen. He was heavily criticized for his stance by Disney officials and a California theme parks group for being “unreasonable.”
Amid the stalemate between Disney and Newsom, Disney announced 28,000 layoffs and Disney chairman Bob Iger resigned from the state’s economic coronavirus task force.
Said Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek Monday while a guest on CNBC: “I look across our Disney properties, all I see is that we have been opening up responsibly, using the guidelines that health care experts have given us. … It seems to me that the guidelines that are set up by the state of California are more stringent than any state across the country.”
4:45 p.m.: Updated with a statement from Erin Guerrero, executive director of California Attractions & Parks Association.
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