Florida governor praises theme parks’ COVID-19 approach as Disneyland, California parks remain shuttered

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis praised Florida theme parks’ handling of the coronavirus during a news conference Monday.

Disney World’s Florida theme parks closed March 15 at the start of the pandemic but eventually reopened July 11, following reopenings for Universal Orlando and SeaWorld, which both reopened in June.  

“Everyone now acknowledges that theme parks have not led to any type of major outbreaks,” DeSantis said, adding that Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal “have done very well” at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

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“We knew because of the way it’s done, they had precautions and all that. It’s outdoors, all these other things,” he said

DeSantis contrasted his state’s reopening guidelines with those of California, where large theme parks, including Disneyland, have remained closed since March.

“And yet California, they’re totally shut down. They have no path to reopen. Who knows when it will,” the Florida governor said.

California guidelines have prohibited Disneyland from reopening since the start of the pandemic, which Disney CEO Bob Chapek called “arbitrary.” . 

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DeSantis then commented on the indefinite closure of businesses in America, calling it “totally overboard.”

When asked about the future of unemployment and layoffs for theme park workers, DeSantis suggested that the federal government “should’ve done a relief package months ago.”

“You know, the reason why a lot of people are unemployed is because of federal policies with the 15 days to slow the spread,” he said. “Unemployment is really on the federal government because I think they’re the ones that caused it. So they should do relief. Hopefully they’ll do it over the next month or two.”

On Thanksgiving Eve, the company revealed around 32,000 workers would lose their jobs in the first half of the 2021 fiscal year. This figure includes 28,000 staffers Disney said in September it would lay off from its parks division.

Disney ups layoffs to 32,000 workers as Disneyland remains closed amid coronavirus

Contributing: Kelly Tyko, Curtis Tate

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