Disneyland employees and fans rallied outside the California theme park's gates in Anaheim on Saturday to protest the theme park's continued closure as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Roughly 40 people showed up at Disneyland with protest signs and shouting "open Disneyland". Among those in attendance were park employees as well as fans who participated in the rally to show their support for those who have lost their jobs to the park's continued closure.
"We've been coming here for years, ever since [my daughter] was like three months old," Jennifer Grafius told CBS Los Angeles. "The cast members have always been here to support us, and they make us have a good time. We need to support them. It's our turn to be out here hitting the pavement to get their jobs back."
Jessica Grafius, Jennifer's daughter, said that if Florida's Walt Disney World can reopen, Disneyland can as well.
"If Walt Disney World can open safely, so can we," she said. "We can social distance. We can wear our mask. We can be safe, and we can open our happy place...I know Walt would want us to reopen."
Disneyland and other pars have been closed since March when the pandemic first began taking hold in the United States. While Walt Disney World in Florida has reopened, California's Governor Gavin Newsom has not yet permitted Disneyland to reopen due to safety concerns with the ongoing pandemic, though earlier this week he did announce that he would be sending a team to Florida to see how that park is handling operations and perhaps assess how their practices could be put into place for Disneyland.
"I have a whole team that spends their time not only getting the answer to that question, but asking those same questions," Newsom said. "And so, this week, as a proof point of that, we have supported an effort to actually find out directly by sending our own team to these sites, as relates to theme parks, to get a better sense of what's going on. While we absolutely take people's word for information that they provide us, we want to see things for ourselves."
Even with the team heading to Florida, Newsom has been clear that Disneyland and other parks won't be open anytime soon and that reopening Disneyland is incompatible with a health-first approach.
"The fact is, that since March we have taken a robust science-based approach to responsibly reopening our parks and resorts across the globe," Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel said. "Our health and safety protocols were developed in consultation with epidemiologists and data scientists, and after considering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and experts in local governments and health agencies. All of our other theme parks both in the United States and around the world have been allowed to open on the strength of our proven ability to operate with responsible health and safety protocols."
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