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Reopen Orange County

Dear Governor Newsom, County and City Leaders,

The newly released theme parks guidelines are disappointing and arbitrary. The guidelines are inconsistent with your pledge to let science govern re-opening policies, and will lead to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, closure of thousands of small, minority and/or family-owned businesses. I urge you to reconsider these guidelines, and base new policies on the world-class safety protocols that Disneyland Resort and other major theme parks have put in place and demonstrated around the nation and indeed around the world.

It’s not enough to say that public health, data, and facts should drive COVID-19 decisions. You have to mean it. The current guidelines are unfair and lack any real scientific basis. Beaches, zoos, racetracks, and large shopping centers are open while the Disneyland Resort, a company built on a safety-first culture with an unmatched expertise in moving large groups of people around safely, remains closed. This despite the clear fact that at multiple theme parks around the world, all operating with no COVID-19 outbreaks, Disney has reopened safely. This makes no sense.

Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Department of Health, believes it will take Orange County until summer 2021 or longer for Orange County to reach tier four. And even then, Disneyland Resort and other theme parks will only be able to operate at 25% capacity. What is clear is that while Disney will likely survive this, the small restaurants, family-owned hotels, and other small businesses in the area will not. There will be no recovery for these businesses. Not only are the 32,000 direct jobs at Disneyland Resort in jeopardy, but the 47,000 other jobs that Disneyland Resort helped create will likely be gone as well.

The City of Anaheim faces a budget deficit of $120 million, and that grows every day the Disneyland Resort is closed. The city will not be able to provide basic public safety protection to its residents, maintain its parks, keep its libraries open, fill potholes, or provide services and housing assistance to its many needy residents…whose need, by the way, increases as they lose their jobs!
Please reconsider the guidelines your administration issued. Issue fair and attainable guidelines that will allow for the safe re-opening of the Disneyland Resort. We are confident that Disneyland Resort, and the neighboring businesses, will adhere to reasonable guidelines, open without creating public health risks, and make you proud of our ability to do this better than anyone else.

Sincerely,

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