Disneyland and other California theme parks could reopen on April 1st according to updated guidelines from the state of California’s health department.
“Throughout the pandemic, California’s business community has been committed to protecting the health and safety of workers and customers — and that won’t change now,” Dee Dee Myers, senior advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom and director of the governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, said in a statement Friday. “We will continue to work together with our partners across all sectors of the economy as we reopen safely, sustainably and equitably.”
The new guidelines are part of a “Blueprint Refresh” from California Gavin Newsom’s administration that could allow theme parks to reopen as early as April 1st providing the counties the parks are located in reach the red/substantial tier 2 risk status. With this new policy, the California theme parks could reopen at 15% capacity in the red/tier 2 level. Capacities would change as counties reach orange/moderate tier 3 level and yellow/minimal tier 4. At orange/moderate tier 3 the capacity allowance would be 25% and yellow/minimal tier 4 capacity would increase to 35%.
Disneyland Resort president Ken Potrock released a statement to the news saying, “We are encouraged that theme parks now have a path toward reopening this spring, getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses in our entire community. With responsible Disney safety protocols already implemented around the world, we can’t wait to welcome our guests back and look forward to sharing an opening date soon.”
California residents will be the only ones allowed to visit theme parks in California under the new guidelines. More updated guidelines will be hashed out in the coming weeks in partnership with theme parks. Along with park capacity limits, there will also be additional capacity limits on indoor attractions and no indoor dining initially.
“We appreciate the administration’s willingness to work with the state’s theme parks on the finer details of the plan so parks can responsibly reopen soon, putting people safely back to work and reinvigorating local economics,” said California Attractions and Parks Association executive director Erin Guerrero in a released statement.
Currently, most of the counties in California with theme parks are not in the an eligible tier yet. Orange County remains in the purple/widespread tier 1 level. The same goes for Los Angeles County, San Diego County, and Solano County. These counties are the home to the Disneyland Resort, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, Sig Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld, Legoland, and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
It is expected that Orange and Los Angeles counties will be moving into the red/substantial tier 2 next week. If this were to happen, the Disneyland Resort could conceivably reopen its gates on April 1st. The same would be true for Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
“With case rates and hospitalizations significantly lower, the arrival of three highly effective vaccines and targeted efforts aimed at vaccinating the most vulnerable communities, California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary, said in a statement. “Even with these changes, California retains some of the most robust public health protocols in the country.”
At this point it is still unknown when the Disneyland Resort will reopen the gates to its theme parks. The same goes for all the other parks listed above. However, this is one large step towards reopening the California parks. It also marks a fairly strong about-face by California Governor Gavin Newsom who previously had been quite resistant to any large theme parks reopening before the counties they were in had reached the yellow/minimal tier 4 level.
What is also unknown is how this updated blueprint will affect the various food festivals happening across Southern California this spring. Yesterday the Disneyland Resort began selling tickets for A Touch of Disney at Disney California Adventure and also extended dates for the experience through April 19th.
DAPS MAGIC will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they become available. What do you think about the potential for California theme parks including Disneyland to reopen on April 1st? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.