Gavin Newsom, the California government, said Friday that the only way to sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19’s violence is to avoid early mistakes and open businesses more slowly despite the pain.
“It is very raw. I am well aware of the mandates we issue as a state, the mandates issued by local health officers … The need and desire for people to return to work and open their doors, ”he said during a virtual Q&A at Milken Institute Annual Global Conference. “At the same time, you must balance public health if you are committed to sustainable economic growth and recovery. Non-situational economic growth and recovery. What I learned is the erroneous way we reopened after the first few months we had held the line. ”
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He did not elaborate on specific industries such as amusement parks that have protested vocally over the lack of reopening guidelines as they continue to dump workers. Disneyland and Universal Resorts Hollywood remain dark even though the parks are open in Orlando, Florida.
“We never had a big wave like they had on the east coast,” he said, and the state now sees “not another wave, but a continuation of the first, which we were able to temper. So now that we have now tamed this growth and we are reopening now, we are doing it a lot more methodically and we are doing it a lot more stubbornly, but in a way that I think will ultimately help our economic recovery by not having the adjustments and it starts an opening and closing which I think will very likely continue and be advanced when people come back indoors and we start to see some transmission speeds go up again. “We will keep a health focus to advance our economic paradigm.”
Few entertainment industries – which represent a large part of the state’s economy – have been hit harder than amusement parks. Owners have been back and forth with the governor over when the industry will get guidelines to reopen safely – something parks have done in other states and around the world. Newsom recently said he was “not in a hurry” to reopen parks, after which he was withdrawn, but hints and promises have not yet resulted in anything declarative, prompting Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger to retire from a task force for state recovery.
The conglomerate late last month announced plans to lay off 28,000 in its domestic parks, Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World in Orlando.
This includes 8,857 union workers at Disney World, which has been open since July but with reduced capacity.
Universal Hollywood has laid off more than 2,200 workers since July, according to state archives.
California Attorney and Park Association CEO Erin Guerrero has highlighted the industry’s months of developing comprehensive draft guidelines with input from international health and safety experts, saying they are ready to reopen with best practice protocols. “Every day that parks are closed, the amusement park industry further decimates. The governor’s “no big rush” approach is destroying businesses and livelihoods for thousands who may be responsible for returning to work, “she said.
Dr. Pamela Hymel, Chief Medical Officer, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, also weighed in, saying: “We absolutely reject the proposal that the reopening of Disneyland Resort is incompatible with a ‘health-first’ approach.”
Parks in California are struggling through the same limbo as movie theaters on the opposite coast of New York, with Governor Andrew Cuomo keeping them closed across the state, even though various other businesses are allowed to reopen. NY has not provided a guideline for how or when they may reopen.
California’s attitude toward theaters has been more tolerant – it’s based on county after county depending on infection levels, so many are open. However, the main Los Angeles market is still closed. In San Francisco, theaters refused to open, even after being given the green light. They said it is financially possible as the mayor does not let them sell concessions.