Orange County leaders call for reopening of Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm

Anaheim has been struggling with a historic 15% unemployment rate since Disneyland Resort closed six months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Three Orange County mayors are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue guidelines to safely reopen theme parks in the region.

The mayors of Anaheim, Buena Park and Garden Grove held a news conference Wednesday to invite the governor to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm to judge for himself if the theme parks are ready to open.

Anaheim has been struggling with a historic 15% unemployment rate -- higher than the 12% unemployment rate the city saw during the Great Recession -- since Disneyland Resort closed six months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Six months after closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there's still no sign of an upcoming reopening at the Disneyland Resort theme parks and leaders with the city of Anaheim say their economy is feeling it.



Anaheim Chief Communications Officer, Mike Lyster, says the impact is already visible.

"The City of Anaheim is looking at a $100 million budget deficit that will be felt by people throughout our city," Lyster said.

According to a Cal State Fullerton study, Disneyland had an economic impact of about $8.5 billion in Southern California in 2018. That's up 50% from 2013.

Newsom said Wednesday the state expects to make an announcement "soon" about reopening guidelines for theme parks.

RELATED: Newsom: CA 'getting closer' to issuing reopening guidance for Disneyland, other theme parks
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Gov. Gavin Newsom says California is "getting closer" to issuing guidelines for theme parks, which have been closed since mid-March and are pushing the state to tell them when they can reopen.



Orange County was upgraded from the purple to the red tier in California's coronavirus monitoring system last week. The move allowed for churches, theaters and other businesses to resume indoor operations, but with strict limits on capacity and other health measures in place.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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