California will issue guidelines this week for how theme parks can reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Both the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times reported the news in separate articles on Thursday. 

“Theme park guidance is expected to come from CDPH this week,” California Department of Public Health spokesperson Rodger Butler told the Register. “Theme parks will be incorporated into the Blueprint for a Safer Economy similar to other sectors.”

The LA Times reported that state public health officials have been meeting with representatives from Californoa’s amusement parks since the pandemic began. Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm have publicly accused Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office of not communicating with park operators. 

Disney has been vocal in criticizing Newsom’s administration for not issuing reopening guidelines, even partially blaming the state for mass layoffs at Disney theme parks. Local government officials and Disney fan sites have also lobbied for the Disneyland Resort to be allowed to reopen. 

Pandemic creates record low crowds at Disney World 

Disney World’s four theme parks are more crowded than when the resort first reopened in July, but daily attendance is at historic lows.

Len Testa, president of the customizable theme park itinerary service Touring Plans, told the Orlando Sentinel that on a recent weekend, around 19,000 people visited Magic Kingdom while Disney’s Hollywood Studios attracted about 11,000 guests — each about a third of their typical attendance.

“You’re never going to see crowds this low again,” Testa said. 

You can read more the rest of the Sentinel story here

Carowinds not reopening this year despite state lifting restrictions

North Carolina is allowing its amusement parks to reopen with limited capacity as part of the next phase of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. The state’s biggest park, however, won’t be welcoming back guests this year. 

On Wednesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper moved the state to Phase 3 of its reopening plan, which allows amusement parks to operate outdoor areas and attractions at 30 percent capacity. Indoor rides have to remain closed, but other indoor spaces can reopen.

Carowinds, the 400-acre park that straddles the North Carolina-Souther Carolina border, had already shut the door on reopening in 2020. A spokesperson for the park told Theme Park Tribune that the move to Phase 3 has not changed its plans and Carowinds still expects to reopen in 2021.