Disney is Pleading with California to Reopen Disneyland

Published on September 23, 2020

Recently, a report came out Disney was mishandling COVID-19 cases among Disney World employees. The Orlando, Florida park’s management was allegedly asking employees to return to work too soon after testing positive for the coronavirus, putting park guests and fellow employees at risk. Despite Disney World’s problems spreading coronavirus among their workers, the Disney Parks Chief is now pleading with the state of California to reopen Disneyland, which Governor Gavin Newsom says we’ll hear news about “soon.”

The Plea

The brand new chairman of Disney Parks, Josh D’Amaro, is asking Califorina’s state officials to reopen Disneyland. “To our California government officials, particularly at the state level, I encourage you to treat theme parks like you would other sectors and help us reopen,” D’Amaro said. “We need guidelines that are fair and equitable so we can better understand our future and chart a path toward reopening.” The original reopening date for Disneyland was July 17th, but that day came and went as COVID-19 cases surged. As a result, the state tightened up on restrictions. 

The Financial Effect

Cases of COVID-19 and hospitalization rates are on the decline all over California. For the most part, the infection rates have gone down in Anaheim. D’Amaro argues the county needs Disneyland. “The longer we wait, the more devastating the impact will be to the Orange County and Anaheim communities and to the tens of thousands of people who rely on us for employment,” he added. “With the right guidelines and our years of operations experience, I am confident that we can restart and get people back to work….As you can see from this discussion today…we’re ready. And more importantly, it’s time.”

Money Lost

Disney is losing a spectacular amount of money this year. Back in May, it was predicated the company would lose over $21 billion from the effects of COVID-19. Over April, May, and June, Disney lost $5 billion, and two of that billion was due to closing their parks. The new CEO of Disney, Bob Chapek, believes the company will be in good shape once they win back the consumer’s confidence. 

Disney’s COVID-19 Problem

Disney felt confident reopening their park in Hong Kong. It didn’t take long for that park to close after reopening. Hong Kong Disney only lasted a month until there was a wave of new COVID-19 cases. At Disney World, the reopening fell short of the company’s expectations. Florida has one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 in the country, so Disney saw more cancellations and lower attendance than they anticipated. A part of the reason, in the company’s eyes, was the lack of travel and visitors coming in from out of state. 

To make matters worse, Disney has been blasted for gross irresponsibility among their employees and harshest critics. Allegedly, the Florida park is asking employees to return to work after testing positive for COVID-19. The company allegedly isn’t keeping employees informed of who’s gotten sick until it’s too late. Employees at Disney World have to sign non-disclosure agreements, but quite a few brave employees found ways to speak out about their mistreatment. 

Disney hasn’t been disclosing the number of COVID-19 cases among their park employees to the public and, even worse, unions. “Basically all of our COVID information has come from word of mouth,” one unnamed employee said. “Co-workers texting each other, co-workers talking to each other, and things that my [spouse] has seen on the job. None of this is from any of the managers. Disney management is not really officially acknowledging that any of this is happening.”

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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