Disneyland workers' unions send letter to California governor questioning move to reopen theme parks in July

17,000 workers at California Disneyland Resort have sent a letter to the state’s governor, stating they are not convinced the theme parks will be safe enough to reopen by the company’s July target date.

Reuters June 20, 2020 12:44:42 IST
Disneyland workers' unions send letter to California governor questioning move to reopen theme parks in July

Unions representing 17,000 workers at Walt Disney Co’s Disneyland Resort in California have told the state’s governor they are not convinced the theme parks will be safe enough to reopen by the company’s July target date.

Disneyland workers unions send letter to California governor questioning move to reopen theme parks in July

Disneyland in California

In a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday, 18 June, the unions said they had been in discussions with Disney since mid-March when Disneyland was closed to help curb the coronavirus pandemic.

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The resort in Anaheim, in southern California, houses the Disneyland theme park and the California Adventure Park, both of which the company aims to reopen 17 July.

“Unfortunately, despite intensive talks with the company, we are not yet convinced it is safe to reopen the parks,” the letter from the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions said.

A Disney spokesperson said Friday the company had put the safety of workers and guests “at the forefront of our planning.”

“We look forward to continued dialogue with our unions on the extensive health and safety protocols, following guidance from public health experts,” the spokesperson said.

The California Department of Public Health said theme parks would be able to welcome guests when the state reaches Stage 3 of its phased reopening plan. It is currently in Stage 2.

The agency said it would release guidelines on how to minimise coronavirus spread at theme parks, but said there was no timetable yet for when the guidance would be issued.

Disney plans to reopen Florida’s Walt Disney World on 11 July with extensive measures ranging from requiring masks and temperature checks to suspending activities such as parades that create crowds.

(Also read on Firstpost — Coronavirus Outbreak: Hong Kong Disneyland reopens after five months with limited visitors, stricter health protocols)

The Disneyland unions said the company had accommodated some concerns. But there were “numerous questions Disney has not answered, including any serious discussion of ‘testing’ - which has been the cornerstone of plans for other areas of the entertainment industry reopening,” the unions said.

“Therefore, at this point, we do not know if the resort can be operated safely,” the letter said.

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