California health officials on Tuesday issued long-awaited guidelines for reopening theme parks in the state, setting goals for when attractions like Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles can open their doors. It could be a long road for the big parks: their counties must reach the least restrictive “yellow” tier of the four-tier Covid-19 plan to reopen the state economically.
In terms of coronavirus cases, Orange County, home of Disneyland, is currently on the “red” or second tier, and Los Angeles County, the location of Universal Studios, is currently on the most restrictive “purple” tier. It can take months for both counties to meet the guidelines for the “yellow” tier. This requires less than one case per day per 100,000 population and a positive test rate of less than 2 percent. The parks have been closed since March.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, issued the guidelines in a videoconference Tuesday, saying he believes the animal guidelines can be achieved. He said San Francisco County had already met them.
“There is a lot of work we can do together – both state and local, business leaders, community leaders, and individuals – to make sure we reduce transmission across our county and that there is a way forward,” said Dr. Ghaly said. “We don’t know when, but we know how, and I think we’ll continue to do hard work to get us there one county at a time.”
However, Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock said in a statement that the guidelines are “arbitrary” and “impractical”.
“We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, while strictly following science-based health and safety protocols in our theme park properties around the world,” said Potrock. “Even so, the state of California continues to ignore this fact and instead is imposing arbitrary guidelines that it knows will not be enforceable and that hold us to a standard that is very different from other reopened businesses and state-run facilities.”
When parks reopen they must implement a reservation system that allows guests to pre-book visits. You’ll also need to screen guests for symptoms throughout the park and prescribe masks except when people are eating and drinking. Larger parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood have to limit the capacity to 25 percent.
Smaller parks in California can be reopened when they reach the third or “orange” tier. They can have up to 25 percent capacity or 500 guests, whichever is less, and only people from the park’s home country are allowed to visit.
Disney World, the company’s park in Orlando, Florida, reopened in July with strict social distancing and capacity requirements. There have been no major outbreaks of the park-related coronavirus. Due to the low number of visitors, the company has initiated layoffs there. The pandemic has cut off many of Disney’s businesses, including films, theatrical productions, and cruises. Disneyland had estimated sales of $ 3.8 billion last year, according to Michael Nathanson, a media analyst.
On Monday, a coalition of labor unions representing thousands of Disneyland workers told California Governor Gavin Newsom that they were generally satisfied with the company’s health measures for safe operations.
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