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Gov. Newsom: Theme parks like Disneyland, casinos exempt from California public-gathering restrictions

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Posted at 12:59 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 16:13:16-04

ANAHEIM, Calif. (CNS) -- Despite a statewide order barring public gatherings of 250 or more people, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday the mandate excludes casinos, card rooms, theaters and large theme parks, such as Disneyland, Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Newsom said he opted not to include the venues in his mandate due to the "complexity of their "unique circumstances," but discussions are continuing.

"I had a conversation with (Disney executive chairman) Bob Iger yesterday," Newsom said. "We've been meeting with our partners in our tribal nations. We've been meeting with leaders of those respective industries. The complexity of their unique circumstance requires additional conversation, different kind of engagement, and in real time, we're in those conversations and engagement.

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"The reason we didn't do it is because of the complexity of their unique circumstances, but I assure you, we are moving quickly and effectively toward a resolution in those spaces."

Newsom said officials from the various types of venues raised "legitimate concerns" that prompted him to exempt them from his public-gathering ban.

Disneyland officials said on the park's website that they were monitoring the coronavirus situation and continuing to "implement preventive measures" in line with health officials' recommendations.

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"For example, we have added additional hand sanitizers throughout the park, increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in high guest-contact areas and are providing information about good hygiene practices and illness prevention to our guests and cast members," according to the site.

On its website, Universal Studios Hollywood notes that it has enhanced "already aggressive cleaning protocols -- and applying stringent guidelines for cleaning all areas of our destination and CityWalk. This includes our rides and attractions, our restaurants and dining areas, our merchandise locations and more."

Officials have no plans to close Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park.

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"Knott's Berry Farm is aware of the new guidance issued by the state of California last night regarding large events based on the COVID-19 outbreak," said Diana Bahena, the theme park's spokeswoman. "Knott's Berry Farm is open today as we understand and evaluate what this means for our park, our guests and our associates."