Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other California theme parks are asking Governor Gavin Newsom and his administration not to finalize the health and safety reopening guidelines for COVID-19 without first working with the industry.
The California Landmarks and Parks Association asked state officials Thursday, October 1, to listen to recommendations of theme park operators and amend some protocols before issuing reopening guidelines.
“We ask the governor not to finalize the theme park guidelines before engaging in the industry in a more serious way, and to hear the experience of park operators and cooperate with the industry on a plan that would allow the theme parks to reopen responsibly while preserving health,” said Irene Guerrero, Executive Director of CAPA at Statement, the safety of park personnel and guests is a top priority.
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The Sacramento-based CAPA represents Disneyland, Universal Studios, Notes Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Greater California.
California theme parks closed in mid-March and remain closed pending instructions to safely reopen from the state.
California plans to issue reopening guidelines this week that will allow the state’s theme parks to resume operations more than six months after the coronavirus shutdown, according to state officials.
California theme parks were left waiting on the sidelines while other sectors of the economy have reopened under Newsom’s four-tier scheme for a safer economy.
“Today, California theme park leaders who have worked for months to prepare for the reopening are responsible for an initial draft of state directives and a blueprint for California theme parks,” Guerrero said in a statement. “While we comply with many protocols and health and safety requirements, there are many other protocols that need to be modified if they are to result in a responsible and reasonable theme park reopening plan.”
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A growing group of theme parks, city leaders, state lawmakers and industry associations called on Newsom to reopen Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Universal Studios Hollywood, Notes Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California and other theme parks across the state.
Newsom said a month ago that it would announce a plan to reopen California theme parks “soon” and said two weeks ago that instructions would come “very soon.”
Disney announced this week that 28,000 employees will be laid off at Disneyland and Walt Disney World as the company continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extended closure of its parks in Anaheim.
Disney officials placed part of the blame for the layoffs on Newsom and its management’s failure to issue guidelines to reopen the theme park.
Disney Parks President Josh Damaro said in a statement that the impact of the pandemic “has been exacerbated in California by the state’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.”