Add Bob Chapek to the list of Disney executives slamming California Governor Gavin Newsom for Disneyland continuing to be closed since March amid the still-spreading coronavirus pandemic.
During the company’s earnings call on Thursday, the Disney CEO said he was “extremely disappointed the state of California continues to keep Disneyland closed.” Last month, California’s theme parks reopened with restrictions under new state guidelines, but major parks in Orange and Los Angeles County — including Disneyland and Universal Studios — didn’t make the cut.
Chapek criticized those guidelines for setting an “arbitrary standard” for reopening, arguing that their reopening plans are “science based.” Disney, which reported a $6.9 billion hit due to closures and other parks operating at “greatly reduced capacity,” expects Disneyland to remain closed through the end of 2020.
Back in September, Disney eliminated around 28,000 domestic jobs in its theme parks division because of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, two-thirds of which will be part-time roles. At that time, the company blamed California for exacerbating its financial woes due to its “unwillingness” to lift COVID-19 restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.
Walt Disney World in Florida has been opened with limited capacity since July.
Chapek’s criticism of California’s strict reopening guidelines come as the country has seen a massive resurgence of confirmed COVID-19 cases, topping 100,000 daily cases since last week. On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded more than 140,000 cases, a new daily record. Newsom has said in recent days that some California counties will have to pull back on their reopenings given the new upswelling in cases.