Reopening guidelines for California theme parks coming soon

Posted at 7:27 AM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 10:27:31-04

(KGTV) -- Reopening guidance could be coming soon for California’s theme parks, which have been shut down since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

A spokesperson for Gov. Newsom and the state’s Department of Public Health said guidelines for reopening theme parks, concerts, sporting events, and other mass gatherings could be issued this week.

Some expect an announcement to be made as soon as Friday.

Earlier this week, Disney announced 28,000 employees would be laid off at Disneyland and Disney World parks. Company officials placed part of the blame on Newsom for failing to issue reopening guidelines for theme parks sooner.

When asked if he was giving in to pressure from Disney and other theme parks to reopen prematurely, Newsom said, “We are not putting the health and safety of people visiting the state or recreating the state at the parks at risk.”

Michelle Steel, chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, criticized the state for “dragging its feet” on issuing reopening guidelines for theme parks, specifically Disneyland in Anaheim and Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park.

“We need these parks to reopen not for our children and tourists but our businesses and communities that rely on them,” Steel said. “I am disappointed at the lack of progress California has made in this and every other area while other governments have made safe reopenings of their theme parks. California continues to delay and this has resulted in the loss of 28,000 jobs … All of this could have been avoided.”

The California Attractions and Parks Association said they have seen a draft of the state reopening guidelines, but they are urging Newsom to make some changes.

Downtown Disney and Universal CityWalk have reopened outside their respective theme parks with modifications.

SeaWorld San Diego reopened in August on a limited basis, requiring reservations for visitors and limited access to exhibits. All of the park's coasters and rides are currently closed and some animal experiences are limited.

The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park have also reopened in San Diego with limited offerings and modifications.

City News Service contributed to this report