In this file photo taken on March 14, 2020 a man takes a photo outside the gates of Disneyland Park on the first day of the closure of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks as fear of the spread of coronavirus continue, in Anaheim, California. (AFP/David McNew)
Walt Disney Co urged California officials on Tuesday to let the company reopen the Disneyland theme park, which remains shuttered six months after closing down to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
With approval from local authorities, Disney has reopened its parks in Shanghai, Paris and Florida with limited attendance, face mask requirements and other measures to prevent COVID-19 infections. Hong Kong Disneyland is set to reopen on Friday.
Disney parks officials, in a video briefing for reporters on Tuesday, said their safeguards had been successful and were given high marks by guests in customer surveys. The video included footage of families and employees throughout various parks wearing masks, keeping their distance on rides and saying they felt safe and enjoyed their visit.
Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products, urged California officials to provide "fair and equitable guidelines" to allow Disneyland in Anaheim, California, to reopen.
"As you can see from this discussion today, we're ready," D'Amaro said. "And more importantly, it's time."
The state currently ranks coronavirus levels in the Orange County, where Disneyland is located, as "substantial," the second-highest category.
D'Amaro urged state officials to consider the economic repercussions of keeping Disneyland closed. The resort supported nearly 80,000 jobs in the region when it was open.
"The longer we wait, the more devastating the impact will be on Orange County and the tens of thousands of people who rely on us for employment," he said.
"With the right guidelines and our years of operations experience, I'm confident that we can restart and get people back to work," he added.
Representatives for California Governor Gavin Newsom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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