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Bob Iger and Wife Donate $5M to Small Businesses in Los Angeles Amidst Pandemic; Disneyland Opens As Large Scale Vaccination Site

Walt Disney Co. executive chairman Bob Iger and his wife Willow Bay will be donating $5 million to small businesses throughout Los Angeles that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday. “We are grateful to you for your bold leadership,” Garcetti said in a speech that focused mostly on vaccine distribution.

As those of us in Florida feel for our fellow Disney lovers on the West Coast, we pray that things begin to turn around for them and they too will soon be back “home” enjoying the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland. Although, I never profess to be a politically knowledgeable guy, nor do I debate or even discuss politics on stream as I feel that is the audience’s way to escape and get a break from every day stress, I do feel that it is important to highlight positive strides by groups, government and especially the Walt Disney Company when it comes to keeping the parks open and especially, working hard to open the parks that have been closed for such a long time. I could not imagine what it would be like if we here at Walt Disney World were still closed and could not be going to our beloved home park.

Iger along with his wife Willow Bay, the Dean of USC’s Annenberg School, have been donors to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, which has been making grants to residents during the pandemic.

Garcetti’s speech attempted to explain when Angelenos would be able to get COVID vaccines, though several points remain unclear. Currently, it is still being distributed only to healthcare workers and seniors living in skilled nursing facilities in Los Angeles County. “This vaccine is safe. It’s your civic duty. It’s going to save someone’s life,” he emphasized.

One of the biggest vaccine distribution facilities in the country will open Friday at Dodger Stadium with the capacity to inoculate 12,000 people each day. But Garcetti admitted the city doesn’t have a clear sense of when more doses would arrive. Though he touted the county vaccination website, it currently only offers a newsletter for further info, rather than appointments or sign-ups. “We can’t add more people until we have more vaccines,” he reminded.

Residents hoping to register for coronavirus vaccinations flooded a new online registration system designed for that purpose Wednesday, January 13th as Orange County’s large-scale vaccination site opened at the Disneyland Resort.

Cars lined the streets near the resort Wednesday, with residents eager for their first dose of coronavirus vaccine. But only those with appointments were allowed entry, and all others were asked to leave. Orange County Health Care transformed an enormous off-site parking area into a coronavirus vaccination center, one of five planned for the county. The hope is to vaccinate up to 7,000 residents a day, officials said. Orange County spokeswoman Jessica Good said an estimated only 3,000 vaccinations would be administered on the first day of operation.

Only residents who fell in phase 1A of the county’s vaccination plan were given a chance to make an appointment. Anyone in Orange County 65 years or older can register. Others who fit the phase 1A guidelines may also register for vaccination.

Neighboring counties such as Orange County and San Bernardino have announced that they will be distributing the COVID vaccine to all residents over 65 years old, but Los Angeles County has not yet moved to that tier. Garcetti said that COVID hospitalizations are finally headed in the right direction. “They are luckily not now at record levels.”

However, “this is the moment for us to double down,” Garcetti advised, to keep levels from rising. He said that although Dodger Stadium has transitioned to providing vaccines, several city sites such as Pierce College and others still have capacity for free COVID testing.

Variety; MSN; Yahoo News; Photo Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP; Spokesmayne