California will not issue guidelines for reopening theme parks in the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic, less than a day after theme park operators asked for a delay.
That request came from the California Attractions and Parks Association, which lobbies California state government on behalf of parks such as Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Knott’s Berry Farm. In a Thursday statement, the association made it clear they opposed the guidelines as proposed, saying aspects of the plan “need to be modified if they are to lead to a responsible and reasonable amusement park reopening plan,” and asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to continue discussions with the park.
No part of the guidelines had been confirmed by the theme parks or the state. In a statement on the delay, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said:
“Our Blueprint for a Safer Economy is driven by data and science to keep the risk of COVID-19 transmission low, and this upcoming guidance will be no exception. Given the size and operational complexities of these unique sectors, we are seeking additional input from health, workforce and business stakeholders to finalize this important framework – all leading with science and safety.”
The theme park industry in California has becoming increasingly — and publicly — critical of Newsom’s administration for not releasing reopening guidelines months after other states such as Florida and Ohio have allowed theme parks to reopen with safety protocols. Theme park blogs have also openly advocated for Disneyland to be allowed to reopen.
Disney cited the lack of state guidelines in its statement announcing that 28,000 employees in its theme park division would be permanently laid off. Those staff reductions also include cutbacks at Walt Disney World Resort, which has been open since July. In another sign of the rift between the state of California and Disney, The Sacramento Bee reported that Disney executive chairman Bob Iger had quit Newsom’s economic recovery task force.
While California parks are currently not allowed to reopen their attractions, some have elected to welcome back guests through limited-capacity events focused around food. Knott’s Berry Farm has held three separate food festivals since July, the current offering being Taste of Fall-O-Ween.
More Theme Park News:
Universal releases coaster stats on upcoming Jurassic World VelociCoaster
Fun Spot Orlando given failing grades on COVID-19 safety in secret shopper reports
Ranking Disneyland’s roller coasters from worst to best