The mayors of eight California cities are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to reconsider stringent reopening guidelines for theme parks that could keep the industry closed well into 2021. 

Newsom’s guidelines state that large theme parks cannot reopen until their home counties reach Tier Four, the “minimal” or “yellow” tier on California’s COVID-19 reopening system. To reach that tier, counties would have to report less than one daily new case per 100,000 people and a test positivity rate under 2 percent. Orange County, home to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, predicted it wouldn’t reach that tier until summer 2021

The eight mayors endorsed the same alternative that is supported by Orange County, the California Attractions and Parks Association, and Disneyland unions: let theme parks reopen when counties reach Tier Three, otherwise known as the “moderate” or “orange” tier.

“We are concerned that the state’s guidelines would push re-opening 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,” the mayors wrote.

The mayors signing the letter were: 

  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer
  • San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
  • Fresno Mayor Lee Brand
  • Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh
  • Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu
  • Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey
  • Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido

California theme parks haven’t been fully operational since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though many have reopened limited dining, retail, and animal exhibit areas in recent months to generate revenue. 

Since Newsom’s guidelines were released on Oct. 20, the theme park industry has been vocal in its opposition and has not closed the door on pursuing legal action. However, there’s been no sign that Newsom is considering their calls to allow for a faster reopening.

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