California Allows Theme Parks to Open but Disneyland Resort May Not Open Until 2021
A news conference was held today that outlined the reopening guidelines for theme parks in California including Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld, Legoland & Knott's Berry Farm.
Finally, amusement parks have been added to Governor Gavin Newsom's tiered "Blueprint for a Safer Economy." But under this new tiered approach large theme parks can reopen at 25% capacity but must wait to open until the county is in the "minimal" tier.
Unfortunately, Orange County where Disneyland resort and Knott's Berry Farm are located, is currently in the red or "substantial" category which does not allow theme parks to open. The red category is based on 4 to 7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents or 5-8% positivity. In order for theme parks to reopen the county would have to see less than 1 daily new case per 100,000 or less than 2% positivity to be considered in the minimal tier.
Orange Country is a large county that has many higher education institutes and welcomes tourists and students from out of state making it very hard for the county to achieve yellow tier, until perhaps a vaccine is released.
Disneyland responded with a message from Disneyland Resort President, Ken Potrock, emphasizing that Disney has proven that they can responsibly reopen with health and safety protocols as they have already implemented at their theme parks around the world.
"Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable an that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities."
Mr. Potrock then states that these new State guidelines will keep Disneyland resort closed for the foreseeable future, "forcing thousands more people out of work, leading to the inevitable closure of small family-owned businesses, and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community."
The City of Anaheim Mayor, Harry Sidhu, also critiques the new theme park guidelines stating that the guidelines fail working families and small businesses, "As painful as this is, Disney and the city of Anaheim will survive. But too many Anaheim hotels, stores, and restaurants will not survive another year of this." Sidhu also believes "we can safely and responsibly open our theme parks and convention center soon. The unions of the Disneyland Resort agree and support the reopening of the theme parks."
Erin Guerrero, Executive Director, California Attractions and Parks Association, also reacted to the new guidance with a powerful message, "The Governor has not used science or data to inform his decision. Theme parks have opened and operated safely around the world for months. Data and science prove that theme parks can operate responsibly anywhere - there is no rational reason to believe they can't do so in California. No one cares more about park employees and guest safety than the parks themselves."
Guerrero continues stating, "Let me be unequivocal - the guidance issued by the Newsom Administration will keep theme parks shuttered for the foreseeable future....the Governor has issued a 'Keep Theme Parks Closed Indefinitely' Plan which will devastate California's major theme park industry."
We are sorry to all of the theme park employees, small businesses around the theme parks, and the rest of the California theme park tourism workers for this devastating news about their employment. We are with you in this stand against the new restrictions and we will continue to report on any updates that are made available.