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Disney appeal to California: 'It's time' to let Disneyland reopen

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co DIS.N urged California officials on Tuesday to let the company reopen the Disneyland theme park, which remains shuttered six months after closing down to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

FILE PHOTO: Disney character Mickey Mouse is seen is seen on a clock at the entrance of Disneyland Paris, in Marne-la-Vallee, near Paris, as the theme park prepares to reopen its doors to the public following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France, July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

With approval from local authorities, Disney has reopened its parks in Shanghai, Paris and Florida with limited attendance, face mask requirements and other measures to prevent COVID-19 infections. Hong Kong Disneyland is set to reopen on Friday.

Disney parks officials, in a video briefing for reporters on Tuesday, said their safeguards had been successful and were given high marks by guests in customer surveys. The video included footage of families and employees throughout various parks wearing masks, keeping their distance on rides and saying they felt safe and enjoyed their visit.

Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney parks, experiences and products, urged California officials to provide “fair and equitable guidelines” to allow Disneyland in Anaheim, California, to reopen.

“As you can see from this discussion today, we’re ready,” D’Amaro said. “And more importantly, it’s time.”

The state currently ranks coronavirus levels in the Orange County, where Disneyland is located, as “substantial,” the second-highest category.

D’Amaro urged state officials to consider the economic repercussions of keeping Disneyland closed. The resort supported nearly 80,000 jobs in the region when it was open.

“The longer we wait, the more devastating the impact will be on Orange County and the tens of thousands of people who rely on us for employment,” he said.

“With the right guidelines and our years of operations experience, I’m confident that we can restart and get people back to work,” he added.

Representatives for California Governor Gavin Newsom did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Tom Brown

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