Laid-off Disneyland workers rally in Anaheim, pushing for reopening

Local news

Dozens of people rallied outside Disneyland on Saturday to push for a reopening seven months after the coronavirus pandemic forced the theme park to close in March.

People, including some of the 28,000 workers laid-off by Disney’s park division, held signs that read “Open Disneyland,” “California is missing the magic” and “Recall Newsom.”

A woman named Terri said she has worked for the company for 14 years. She understood when the park remain closed over the summer, but said that Gov. Gavin Newsom should allow Disneyland to open now.

“The governor is not allowing the park to open, but he’s not supporting anybody either,” Terri said. “He can’t have it both ways. … We all have families.”

She argued that the amusement park can safely reopen with the proper precautions.

Desi, who helped organize Saturday’s event, said she misses the experience of being a performer and trainer within her department.

“I know people who have been here 30 years who have lost their job… . It’s shocking to me,” she said.

Desi said learning about the layoffs on BuzzFeed before hearing from the company was especially painful.

Another woman named Terri doesn’t work for Disney, but said she attended the rally to provide support to those affected by layoffs by one of the top employers’ in the county.

“These are our friends and neighbors,” Terri said.

Orange County officials have also demanded the reopening of Disneyland as amusement parks elsewhere in the U.S. resume operations.

Earlier this week, Newsom announced that he was sending teams to parks in other states to learn what precautions they’re taking. On Wednesday, Disneyland announced an agreement with unions on how employees can return to work safely.

But the governor has not offered a timeline for the reopening of California’s amusement parks.

Orange County continues to report an average of about 4.6 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per day, which puts the region in the second-most restrictive level in the state’s four-tier system. The county has confirmed 1,401 coronavirus deaths, including 10 on Friday.

Correction: A previous version of this story provided an incomplete statistic. This post has been updated.

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