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San Diego theme parks aim for July 1 reopening if state allows

Posted at 8:02 AM, May 27, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- As San Diego County moves into Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan, San Diego's major theme parks and attractions unveiled their plans for reopening on Wednesday.

Representatives from SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, and the USS Midway Museum presented their plans to the county’s health department.

"We had a very productive meeting today with SeaWorld, the Midway, and Legoland. They have been working hard on reopening. The State will make the decision as to when theme parks can open. We will be ready to assist them open safely when the Governor clears them to open," Michael Workman, with the county's communications department, told 10News in a statement.

RELATED: San Diego attractions, theme parks detail safety plans for reopenings

The theme parks are expected to follow guidelines laid out by the San Diego Tourism Authority earlier in May, which include limited crowd sizes, social distancing, mask requirements for employees and guests, temperature checks before workers begin their shifts, plexiglass protection in food service areas, sanitation stations around the parks, and frequent cleaning of rides and other common areas.

In a joint statement, Legoland, SeaWorld, and the USS Midway Museum said they hope to reopen on July 1 if allowed:

"LEGOLAND California Resort, The USS Midway Museum and SeaWorld San Diego reviewed its collective re-opening safety plan with County of San Diego officials today. While the attractions will all be ready to reopen on July 1 if authorized, the plan now moves on to State officials for additional review and guidance. As the San Diego attraction coalition, we were greatly appreciative to County staff for the opportunity to present our reopening plan to them today."

However, health experts warn that rides and other close-contact areas could still be a threat for transmission of the coronavirus.

"Everybody's touching them, every 90 seconds," said epidemiologist and National University professor Dr. Tyler Smith. "Even if you have disinfectant, it doesn't mean that it necessarily is not going to end up on that ride for the next person. Maybe they can just focus on areas that it's just watching. Watching a show, viewing an animal. I think that could pretty well reduce the transmission."

Smith added that looking at San Diego's case numbers, the area is in a good place to open up theme parks and attractions, as long as rules are followed.

"If we do this carefully, I think we can minimize the interactions and minimize essentially the new cases which will ultimately minimize the number of people ending up in the hospital and the mortality," he said.

California officials are expected to release state guidelines for theme parks in the coming days.