California: Disneyland reopens as pandemic restrictions eased ahead of Gov. Newsom’s recall election
It is my bet that at least one voter will write in “Mickey Mouse” when the recall vote takes place.
Coronavirus cases in California are decreasing substantially, and the state now enjoys the lowest case rate in the nation.
Months after a coronavirus surge sickened hundreds of thousands of people, left thousands dead and pushed hospitals to their breaking point, California’s virus case rate is now the lowest of any state in the nation, federal figures show.
. . . . California’s latest seven-day rate of new cases was 32.5 per 100,000 people, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Over that same period, Hawaii had the second-lowest rate, at 36.8, and the nationwide rate was 114.7. California has for weeks reported one of the lowest case rates in the nation — though the top spot had remained largely out of reach.
The number is a contributing factor to the reopening of the “happiest place on Earth.”
Disneyland reopened Friday to cheering visitors donning sequined Minnie Mouse ears and snapping selfies, marking a dramatic turnaround in a state so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases just four months ago that patients were being treated in outdoor tents.
California’s world-famous theme park, which unlocked its gates after an unprecedented 13-month closure, is admitting only state residents and operating under a limited capacity for now.
Once inside, guests decked in Disney gear waved excitedly at employees tidying up the park’s hallmark Main Street, which is now lined with hand sanitizing stations and signs reminding people to wear face coverings.
After spending the year mostly teaching her third-grade class from a tent in her backyard, Libby Birmingham was thrilled to be there. The 38-year-old, who attended the park regularly before the pandemic with an annual pass, took the day off from work to make the trip down from Pasadena with friends.
“Disneyland is like my happiest place, to be totally honest,” she said. “It’s one of those places that I can always enjoy, and it lets me be the kid — not always be in charge of the kids.”
California has recently been pushing in-state tourism in advertisements, a fact I find amusing, as the only state in my recent six-state tour of the American Southwest that proved challenging to travel normally (even with masks) was . . . California.
While California continues to “strongly discourage” anyone from visiting the state as tourists, the travel industry is banking on pent-up demand from its own nearly 40 million residents for a comeback. An advertising campaign encourages Californians to travel within the state, mirroring a pitch made after 9/11.
In a state with so many people shut in for so long, even in-state tourism could be a huge boost. Disney’s California parks have long had a loyal local fan base while its Florida locations rely more heavily on international tourists, said Carissa Baker, assistant professor of theme park and attraction management at University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
However, the impending recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom may be the most critical factor in this reopening. Legal Insurrection readers may recall that as late as October of last year, Disney executives were begging Newsom to reopen the park, as Disney World in Florida had safely and effectively done so months earlier.
The groveling was all for naught, until the recall movement steamrolled to success after the governor’s French Laundry dine-in scandal. Currently, Californians are awaiting a budget for the election process and a date to vote.
So far, seven candidates in addition to Caitlyn Jenner have tossed their hats into the ring. If you are a U.S. citizen, registered to vote in California, not convicted of a felony involving bribery, pay $3,916.12 and gather at least 65 signatures, you could also run for the top spot in California. If you collect 7000 signatures, you can wave the fee.
It is my bet that at least one voter will write in “Mickey Mouse” when the recall vote takes place. Actually, that voter may be me.DONATE
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