A new round of stay-at-home orders in California will take effect based on regional intensive care unit capacity, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.
The new plan would close outdoor dining and personal care businesses when a region’s ICU capacity fell below 15 percent, while retail establishments would be limited to 20 percent capacity.
“If we don’t act now we’ll continue to see our death rate climb,” Newsom said.
For California theme parks, that means even the limited operations they’ve been allowed during the pandemic will have to be scaled back or ended entirely.
In San Diego County, Legoland California expects the Holidays at Legoland event to be shuttered due to the guidance, according to the Orange County Register. SeaWorld San Diego will have to close its animal exhibits.
For other theme parks, the guidance isn’t as clear. In Orange County — which is part of the Southern California region in Newsom’s plan along with San Diego County — Knott’s Berry Farm has been holding a series of food festival events, with no rides operating. The question is whether the state considers that event outdoor dining or as takeout dining, which is allowed under the new restrictions.
Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort brings up the same issue. While retail can stay open at reduced capacity, would food options at the recently reopened Buena Vista Street have to be shuttered again?
Universal Studios Hollywood in L.A. County has not reopened any part of its theme park. CityWalk has been operating and its restaurants have already moved to takeout-only, due to the county implementing its own stay-at-home order on Nov. 30.
Six Flags Magic Mountain’s new Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience is also likely safe from the order, as guests don’t leave their cars.
In October and early November, park operators, local governments and employee unions were calling for Newsom to change the state’s stringent reopening guidelines to allow parks to operate again. But after COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths surged over the last month in Southern California, those calls have been silenced as the conversation shifted to ensuring the hospital system doesn’t get overwhelmed.
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