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California Mayors Implore Governor Newsom To Reopen Theme Parks

Photo by Roi Solomon via Unsplash

California Mayors Implore Governor Newsom To Reopen Theme Parks

By Cooper Dowd, Staff Writer

California mayors continue to push back against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 restrictions for large theme parks such as Disneyland.

Recently, mayors from California’s largest cities sent a letter to Newsom asking to modify his strict reopening guidelines for the state’s larger theme parks. The letter said the governor’s requirements “would effectively keep parks closed indefinitely.”

Part of the letter reads:

The guidelines put forth by your administration were released within the framework of prioritizing public health and safety for guests and employees. This is the right focus. However, economic and public health are not mutually exclusive goals. We are concerned that the state’s guidelines would push reopening of large theme parks up to a year out, which would have significant negative impacts on hundreds of thousands of jobs, thousands of small businesses, and billions in operating revenue for our cities.

Mayors from Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, San Jose, and other major cities in California signed the letter. The complete list of mayors is part of the Big City Mayor’s Coalition. Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose, rank as the top three most populous cities in California.  

The mayors maintain that they want to preserve a health-first focus but implore that Newsom allows large theme parks to open in Tier Three with reduced capacity rather than Tier Four.

Movieguide previously reported on the governor’s statements regarding theme parks:

California Attractions and Parks Association, also known as CAPA, Executive Director Erin Guerrero said:

We continue to ask the Administration to share any data or science related to theme parks that they are using to inform their decision to keep the major theme parks closed indefinitely while allowing similar venues to reopen. Parks have been opened throughout the country and world for months and we have seen no data indicating that COVID outbreaks are being traced back to theme parks. If they can reopen safely in other states and countries, then why not in California?

CAPA previously said they were considering suing the California governor because of his stringent guidelines.

“Self-evidently we should be concerned about opening up large theme park which, by definition, people mix from all possible walks of life and putting ourselves and others at risk of seeing transmission rates rise,” Newsom said.

“You bring up one theme park. California has dozens and dozens of theme parks,” he said. “You bring up one particular operator of a theme park that does things very very differently than other operators. You have theme parks that are really cities, that operate hotels and restaurant facilities, not just organize around carousels and other amenities. You see others that are out on beaches and boardwalks that a very very different.”

In mid-October, California’s director of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said that California’s smaller theme parks could reopen if they fall under the Orange Tier. 

The parks must still operate with a reduced capacity, limited to 25% or 500 visitors, whichever is fewer. Furthermore, only the park’s outdoor attractions can only reopen to residents of the same county.

Disneyland in Anaheim and Universal Studios Hollywood may resume operations in Tier 4, Yellow.