State Watch

Disney executives rip California officials for keeping Disneyland closed amid coronavirus

Walt Disney executives ripped California officials Thursday for not allowing Disneyland to reopen, citing a $600 million loss for the company’s fourth quarter.

“We are very disappointed that the state of California continues to keep Disneyland closed,” said Bob Chapek, Disney’s CEO, calling California’s pandemic guidelines “arbitrary,” USA Today reported.

His remarks came during an investor presentation Thursday by Disney’s senior executive president and chief financial officer Christine McCarthy, who said Disneyland would not open before the year’s end.

Chapek noted the company has been able to safely reopen parks, including Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

A group of mayors in California drafted a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) earlier this month, requesting more relaxed guidelines for theme parks like Universal Studios and Disneyland so they can reopen sooner.

The mayors cited concerns such as layoffs that could ensue if lockdowns continued. Disney has laid off 28,000 employees in California and Florida.

As the cold and flu season closes in, officials in populated areas such as Los Angeles are in talks about tightening pandemic restrictions, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Los Angeles County now recommends that anyone traveling for the holidays must quarantine 14 days when they return, though officials are strongly discouraging travel for Thanksgiving.

With minimal park capacity and largely shut-down cruise line operations, Disney reported a loss of nearly $580 million for the fourth quarter and a $1.7 billion loss for the entire year.

Still, the fourth-quarter losses were reportedly offset by Disney’s streaming service Disney Plus, which reached 73 million subscribers.

“It’s been a year unlike any other in our lifetimes, and certainly in the history of the Walt Disney Co.,” Chapek said.

Tags Bob Chapek California Entertainment Gavin Newsom Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on The Walt Disney Company Los Angeles Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

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