Governor Newsom Sending Teams to Walt Disney World, Other Theme Parks to Perform Empirical Research on Efficacy of COVID-19 Protocols

California Governor Gavin Newsom seemed much more willing to talk about theme parks during today’s COVID-19 update and Q&A presser, hinting that progress is being made on the reopening of the theme parks—but not without some necessary research beforehand. When asked about reopening preparations, Newsom indicated that his office is sending out teams to theme parks like Walt Disney World in order to get “a better sense of what’s going on” and perform some firsthand research on the efficacy of current COVID-19 guidelines.

“We want to see things for ourselves,” Newsome emphasized. “We are California… we are going to be stubborn about keeping people’s health front and center.”

After butting heads with theme park giants such as Disney, ultimately leading Bob Iger to quit Newsom’s Economic Recovery Task Force, it seems the Governor is looking to cut out any “intermediaries” and have his administration carry out its own “stubborn research” in order to get a better handle of what they’re being told and what their own concerns are after seeing how the parks are faring.

Newsom commented on the volatility of background transmission rates, which are stable in some counties, but “stubborn” in others. (The word “stubborn” was probably reiterated half a dozen times.) The state will be providing a further update tomorrow on county rates. However, considering that people from all over the world will want to come visit Disneyland and other theme parks in the state, that will require even more nuanced decisions on what to include in reopening guidelines.

Governor Newsom recently stated that California was in “no hurry” to issue theme park reopening dates or guidelines, stating science will guide any announcements on when and how it will be safe to reopen major theme parks. Based off his statements today, it seems there is an overarching emphasis on reopening smaller, local businesses and returning children to in-person schooling safely, before focusing on the entertainment and theme park business.