California Theme Park Reopening Guidelines Draft Details Revealed

The state of California is so close to issuing theme park reopening guidelines. They delayed releasing those guidelines this week due to theme parks requesting more discussion before finalizing plans. Theme park officials expressed concern over some of the requirements in the guidelines.

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said theme parks need “attainable guidelines” that allow them to safely reopen soon and get people back to work. The Orange County Register is reporting what the original draft for reopening guidelines looked like.

The initial draft guidelines from the state for reopening California theme parks reportedly call for:

  • Individual theme parks can reopen only once their county reaches the least-restrictive “minimal” risk level
  • Operate at 25% of attendance capacity
  • Limit visitors to residents living within a 120-mile radius of each theme park

These guidelines present a couple of challenges for theme parks. The theme parks are located in some of the most populous counties in California so reaching the least-restrictive “minimal” tier could be difficult to nearly impossible for those counties. Also, placing theme parks in the final tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy means the severity of the guidelines never change until the pandemic ends.

These guidelines would prevent theme parks from reopening for weeks or even months. Theme parks located in counties at the “substantial” level — including Disneyland — won’t be able to reach the least-restrictive “minimal” level for at least three to six weeks.

Under this initial draft proposal, theme parks would not be able to open until late October or early November at the soonest. If a best-case scenario is not reached, reopening dates could be pushed to December or next year. Which would make setting a reopening date for the theme parks very difficult under the current drafted guidelines. Without a firm reopening date, the parks can’t set staffing, training, ride testing and visitor reservation plans.

Also, if the counties theme parks are located in move back into a stricter tier, what would that mean for theme parks? Would they suddenly be forced to close?

Limiting visitors to residents living within a 120-mile radius of the theme park would make it difficult for theme parks to reopen as well. That might not provide enough profit to make it worth reopening, especially for a theme park like Disneyland.

State and theme park officials continue to work together to come up with reopening guidelines that they agree on and will allow parks to reopen safely. We will continue to update as this information becomes available.

Source: Orange County Register


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Sara