Disney & Universal call on California Governor to reopen theme parks

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The state of California has recently changed its reopening process to a tiered system. This system, however, does not include guidelines for reopening theme parks. The Orange County Register is reporting that an organization representing California theme parks is calling on Governor Newsom to reopen the state’s theme parks.

The California Attractions and Parks Association represents Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and California’s Great America. The association is calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen California theme parks.

The association’s executive director, Erin Guerrero said, “California’s amusement parks urge the governor to issue amusement park guidelines expeditiously so these vital community attractions can reopen their doors in a responsible manner and get residents back to work.”

The Disneyland Resort theme parks have been closed since March 14. Disney officials have stated that once the state releases official theme park reopening guidelines, they can then work with Orange County to come up with a reopening date for Disneyland. Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, along with Ken Potrock, Disneyland president, have both made it known that they are ready to reopen Disneyland.

According to Universal Studios Hollywood officials, “Universal Studios Hollywood continues to work closely with the L.A. County Health Dept and government officials towards the successful reopening of our theme park. We have prepared a comprehensive program that benefits from the experience we have gained reopening our other theme parks in the United States and around the world and we are absolutely ready to reopen with enhanced health and safety protocols.”

Legoland California urged Newsom last month to issue theme park reopening guidelines and it has renewed that call. According to Legoland officials, “We have taken every precaution with our proposed health and safety plan to meet and exceed guidelines given to other businesses and industries. We are now calling on the State of California to recognize the level of detailed planning undertaken so we can work towards reopening with guidance from both the state and county.”

California theme parks submitted reopening plans back in April which included: Mandatory masks, social distancing, increased sanitization, contactless payments, reduced attraction capacity and employee training.

Guerrero said in a statement, “These practices will promote health and safety in ways that many activities Californians are currently engaging in won’t. However, in order to reopen, parks require guidance from the state and that guidance has not been forthcoming.”

The governor’s office has not responded to the California Attractions and Parks Association’s call to reopen theme parks. Newsom has said that the state is working with theme park officials to come up with guidelines and that they are “making progress”.

According to state health agencies and theme park officials, no COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported at Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Six Flags, Legoland and Cedar Fair parks in Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Virginia and Michigan.

Hopefully, California can put guidelines together and get the state’s theme parks reopened soon!