California in 'no hurry' to issue theme park guidance

CORRECTION CA Virus Outbreak California Theme Parks
Posted at 4:47 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 19:53:29-04

(KGTV) — California is taking its time before issuing guidance to allow the state's theme parks to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state was not planning to issue such guidance soon, despite reports last week that rules that would allow the shuttered locations to reopen would be issued soon.

Disney Chairman Bob Iger recently left the state's economic recovery task force, an early indication that business leaders for the industry could be at odds with the state over reopening. According to the Associated Press, Erin Guerrero, executive director of the California Attractions and Parks Association, said amusement park leaders wanted changes to a proposed draft they reviewed this month.

"There’s disagreements in terms of opening a major theme park. We’re going to let science and data make that determination," Newsom said, adding that he wasn't "surprised at all" that Iger left.

Newsom said the state is continuing to work with the industry and would approach theme parks with a "health-first" framework, but was not in a hurry to release rules.

"We are going to be led by a health-first framework and we’re going to be stubborn about it," Newsom said. "That’s our commitment — that’s our resolve. We feel there’s no hurry putting out guidelines."

He added that working to put out appropriate rules would depend on local data.

"It’s very complex. These are like small cities, small communities, small towns. But we don’t anticipate, in the immediate term, any of these larger theme parks opening until we see more stability in terms of the data," Newsom said.

California's major theme parks — including Disneyland, Universal Studios, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland, Knott's Berry Farm, and several smaller theme parks around the state — have been closed since about mid-March due to the pandemic.

Last week, Disney announced 28,000 employees would be laid off as the company struggles with the economic impacts of having its parks closed or under capacity limits.