May18 , 2022

    Disneyland to reopen? No time soon under new California theme park guidelines


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    California health officials issued theme park rules Tuesday that make it clear Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and other top attractions won’t reopen anytime soon.

    The guidelines require that large theme parks can’t open until the county in which they are situated reaches the highest of four tiers when it comes to COVID-19 spread. As might be expected, the plan brought an immediate rebuke from Disneyland’s top official as unfair, unworkable and sure to keep the park shut.

    Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm are in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, which is in the third category, labeled “substantial.” Universal Studios Hollywood is in Los Angeles County, which is in the lowest category, “widespread.”

    Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of Health and Human Services, said on a conference call that the guidelines are realistic, noting that San Francisco County achieved the highest level. That level requires there be less than one case a day per 100,000 residents and a testing positivity rate of less than 2%.

    Under the rules, when large theme parks are allowed to reopen, they will be limited to 25% capacity.
    California created a separate set of guidelines for smaller attractions, those under normal capacity of 15,000, allowing them to reopen at the “moderate” level, but only with outdoor attractions and also only at 25% capacity.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated during his weekly news conferenceMonday that it was important to recognize differences in the nature of different theme parks.

    “This is an area of obvious and real concern,” Newsom said during his news conference. “That’s why we’re being very sober, and – forgive me – stubborn about some industries in the state that I know are eager to get guidelines.”
    The parks have been been closed for seven months now and in limbo since the summer as they waited for the state to announce the benchmarks for reopening.  Disneyland, which scrapped its planned July 17 reopening because of this summer’s COVID-19 spike, and Universal Studios could only watch and take notes as their Florida counterparts reopened.
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