Disney Parks Considers Lawsuit to Open California's Theme Parks

California’s Attractions and Parks Association, made of Disney Parks and Universal Parks, among others, says “all options are on the table.”

Disneyland | Andy Martin Jr/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

California’s Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA), the who’s who of amusement companies and parks in California, is considering suing Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, according to several reports. A major issue for the CAPA recently has been the state’s tiered business reopening plan in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

While for most businesses the tiered plan isn’t that much of an issue, amusement parks have another story entirely. Most businesses have an easy way to reduce capacity or add up protection measures, while amusement parks are like their own entire worlds, with tons of people and businesses contained all in one place. 

Amusement parks may be large, but as shown with Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, when taken care of properly, can be kept remarkably clean. Neither park has had any coronavirus cases directly connected with them.

California seems to have assumed that most parks are harder to contain, following the logic in the aforementioned example. That’s why they’ve placed theme parks on the back end of reopening, closing most large theme parks, while leaving tens of thousands of park workers without guaranteed employment. These plans push theme park openings well into 2021.

Under a new set of statewide standards, released by California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, large parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood won’t be allowed to re-open until each park’s individual counties fall underneath reopening tiers.

For that to happen, coronavirus test positivity rates need to fall to under 2 percent, and adjusted case rates have to be less than one in 100,000. As of today, Orange County, home of Disneyland, is in the red tier, with a positivity rate of 3.2 percent, and an adjusted case rate of 4.6 in 100,000.

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Dr Ghaly said that smaller, either regional parks, or small parks overall, can reopen more quickly. This is due to their smaller size and fewer visitors, which would make their chances of spreading the virus much lower.

This means that while Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood can’t reopen yet, some smaller regional competitors can, at least sooner.

Either way, this theoretical lawsuit is just the latest piece of what’s become a pretty dramatic battle between theme park companies and California.

Earlier this month, Bob Iger, past President and CEO of Disney left Governor Newsom’s task force, due to the state’s refusal to reopen Disneyland and other parks. At that same time, the Disney Companby let off over 28 thousand Disney workers from assorted US Disney Parks.

According to reports, most workers were let off of the parks’ hospitality and restaurant sections. While these may be marked off as releasing some of the least important employees, it’s still a remarkable large amount of people let off, with no guaranteed job from now on.

Hopefully the CAPA and the Californian government can settle with an agreement that prevents any more people’s jobs from being lost or more money. The thing is, it’s weird, since it’s been proven that theme parks are incredibly safe, even considering how large they are, and how many people visit.

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