California Reveals Plans For Reopening of Amusement Parks
California theme parks and sports stadiums will be permitted to welcome back visitors far sooner than expected under new guidance. Today, Governor Newsom has set forth a guideline for the reopening of California amusement parks according to his administration’s “Blueprint Refresh”.
The move would allow parks such as Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Antonio, Legoland California, California’s Great America, and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to reopen as early as April 1st.
While the changes don’t mean it’ll be business as usual at large-capacity facilities, it is now possible to resume some activities — particularly those that can be held outdoors with additional safety modifications. The capacity of the amusement park’s will be set according to the current tier of the county that the park is in.
California divides its counties into four color-coded tiers based on the spread of the coronavirus:
- Tier 1 Purple Widespread/ High Risk
- Tier 2 Red/Substantial Risk
- Tier 3 Orange/Moderate Risk
- Tier 4 Yellow/Minimal Risk
Amusement parks, which are currently only allowed to operate in the Red or Orange tiers, will be able to reopen in the red tier beginning April 1.
Parks can re-open with a maximum capacity of 15% if they are in the “Red/Substantial” tier 2. Parks can operate with 25% capacity if they are in “Orange/Moderate” tier 3. For parks in the least restrictive “Yellow/Minimal” tier 4, they can operate at 35% capacity.
Attendance will be limited to in-state residents only for the initial reopening. Other restrictions will include no indoor dining and limits on indoor rides. More specific guidelines will be updated over the coming weeks as the administration works with the parks.
Regarding park operations, the capacity of the rides will also be limited by tier as well. Indoor rides will be limited to 15% capacity if they are in a park operating at Red Tier 2, 25% for Orange Tier 3, and 35% for Yellow Tier 4. Outdoor attractions can operate with a larger capacity as long as social distancing orders are followed.
Three counties in Southern California with large theme parks (Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties) are in the “Purple Tier 1” and will not be able to immediately open. How soon those areas could re-open depends, in part, on when California can administer an additional 400,000 vaccinations to people living in the state’s lowest-income areas, which will trigger a broad relaxation of the opening criteria.
Orange County, (where Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm are located) and Los Angeles County (where Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain are located) are expected to enter “Red Tier 2” next week, and theoretically could re-open on April 1st.
Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock was hopeful with this news, and tweeted out a statement:
This plan follows months of discussions about reopening the parks. California theme parks have been closed since March OF 2020 under COVID-19 health and safety reopening guidelines issued by the state. Many parks have partially reopened for special events and food festivals without rides. The announcement represents one of the most aggressive relaxations of California’s pandemic restrictions since it began.
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