A California State Assembly bill to be co-sponsored by California Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva and Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez-Valladares could see the Disneyland Resort and other theme parks opening earlier than the current plan from Governor Gavin Newsom. Under the current guidelines, theme parks in California with a capacity of less than 15,000 would be able to reopen in the orange/moderate tier 3 with larger theme parks having to wait until yellow/minimal tier 4. The bipartisan California Assembly Bill 420 that is being co-sponsored would override the Governor’s guidelines and instead have all theme parks reopen in the same tier in a safe manner.
“As a veteran of the theme park industry, I intimately understand their operations, their procedures and their ability to move people and keep them safe,” Martinez-Valladares said in a statement. “The industry, and Six Flags Magic Mountain in my district, has been closed for nearly a year, while parks in other states have been open to the public and serving them safely.”
The California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA) has expressed concern that the current guidelines will keep larger theme parks closed indefinitely. CAPA represents many theme parks like Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and California’s Great America. In the last year, CAPA has found itself up against Governor Newsom’s process and guidelines for reopening multiple times. This first came in the process for creating guidelines for reopening and then once again when guidelines were released.
“We deeply appreciate Assembly Members Quirk-Silva and Martinez-Valladares for their leadership and for introducing legislation on safe theme park reopening,” CAPA executive director Erin Guerrero said in a statement. “Worldwide, theme parks have proven they can reopen responsibly while protecting the health of guests and staff. Science and data show it can be done. California should allow theme parks to reopen responsibly in the orange/moderate tier 3.”
Walt Disney World Resort reopened in Florida last summer and has continued to welcome guests without any known outbreaks. This has been done with safety and health protocols that include physical distancing, face coverings, extensive cleaning, and other adjusted procedures.
“COVID transmission rates are improving and the vaccination distribution is underway, yet California’s major theme parks have no timeline and no realistic pathway toward reopening if left in the ‘Yellow- Minimal — Tier 4’ of state guidance,” Guerrero said in a statement. “AB 420 is needed so theme parks can plan to reopen responsibly and get back to contributing to the economic recovery of our state.”
Most theme parks in California have been closed for ten months. The economic impact in communities around them has been impacted severely. This is particularly true in Anaheim which relies on the Disneyland Resort as a major economic driver.
“By opening our theme parks, we will trigger a ripple effect to our local economy, and in turn, create more jobs,” Martinez-Valladares said in a statement. “It’s time to offer clear guidelines that will balance public health and the need to safely get people back to work, and this bill is the first step.”
At this time it is unknown how much support this bill has in the full legislature. It also isn’t known if the Governor will sign it. What do you think of AB 420? Share your thoughts in the comments below!