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California theme park leaders call reopening guidance unreasonable

Universal Studios photo
Posted at 1:47 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 20:22:37-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The heads of several of California's major theme parks voiced their disapproval on Wednesday with California's recently release theme park guidance.

Members of the California Attractions and Parks Association called the reopening guidance unfair and unreasonable, adding that it will only keep parks closed for the foreseeable future.

Leaders said legal action against California isn't off the table and they want state officials to reconsider the lasting negative effects of keeping parks closed.

RELATED: California health officials release guidance for reopening theme parks, pro sporting events

Karen Irwin, president of Universal Studios Hollywood; Kurt Stocks, president of LEGOLAND California; Raffi Kaprelyan, regional vice president of Knott's Berry Farm operator Cedar Fair; Ken Potrock, president of Disneyland; and Don McCoy, president of Six Flags Magic Mountain, were all in attendance for the virtual press conference.

"Theme parks create a 100% controlled environment, with temperature checks for all guests, mask enforcement, increased sanitization protocols, social distancing, measures that far exceed most daily life experiences in any other leisure activities," said Stocks.

Tuesday, the state released the metrics that would allow theme parks to reopen in some capacity since being shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s guidance for theme parks allows smaller theme parks to resume operations in the state's third reopening tier (moderate/orange) with a limited capacity of 25% or 500 visitors, whichever is fewer; only outdoor attractions; and ticket sales limited to visitors in the same county.

All theme parks may resume operations in the state's fifth tier (yellow/minimal) with a limited capacity of 25%. Any open theme parks must implement a reservations system, screen guests for COVID-19 symptoms, and require face coverings throughout the park unless eating or drinking.

In a statement Wednesday, Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services Secretary, said the rules are intentionally slow and stringent to stop the coronavirus spread.

"Theme parks are a high-risk setting where large scale, random mixing occurs. Theme parks draw regional, national and international attendees that may spend days mixing with others outside their own household," said Ghaly. "The state's public health guidelines have always been driven by data and science. This will continue. As the data evolves and science evolves we will update the guidelines and Blueprint accordingly as we did yesterday to allow all personal care services to operate statewide with modifications."