ANAHEIM (CBSLA) — From the moment he sent a letter this weekend to Gov. Gavin Newsom calling on him to allow Disneyland to reopen after Orange County moves into the state’s orange tier, Chris Duarte’s phone has not stopped ringing.
“We are going to have about 2,800 layoffs come Nov. 1,” he said.
As the president of Workers United Local 50, one of the largest unions at Disneyland representing food and beverage workers, Duarte told Newsom it was time to reopen the park before thousands more lose their jobs.
“We think the resort can reopen safely and our members want to go back to work,” he said. “And a prolonged closure into the yellow [tier], it puts a lot of instability into a lot of people’s lives because they don’t know when they’ll be able to go back to work.”
Newsom is expected to issue theme park reopening guidelines Tuesday, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Disneyland has lost an estimated $5 billion in operating revenue by following the state’s order to remain closed.
In his letter, signed by other unions representing 20,000 workers, Duarte urged the governor to have the state’s reopening task force meet with those representing theme park workers as part of the reopening process.
Duarte also said the union was recommending reopening after Disneyland “provided detail on serious measures to protect workers via social distancing, providing PPE, addressing ventilation,” including a testing program for workers.
“A lot of all our safety concerns that we had initially have been accounted for,” he said.
Over the weekend, dozens of Disney fans and cast members rallied outside the shuttered theme park, demanding it reopen again.
“Millions of people go to Disneyland, and it brings funds to Anaheim, brings funds to the to the state, it’s just foolish not to be able to open that up,” James Rodino, a protester, said.
While it’s unclear what the reopening guidelines might entail, Newsom said that Disneyland and Universal Studios would have very different reopening plans than the state’s smaller theme parks.