California To Allow Reopening Of Disneyland, Other Theme Parks, Outdoor Sports Stadiums On April 1


California health officials announced on Friday that the state will allow reopening of outdoor stadiums, ball parks and theme parks beginning April 1st.

The Department of Health says events and venues are for California residents only. Masks will be mandatory.

Live performances/sports with fans can begin in all tiers of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Theme parks open in Red tier, which for Los Angeles, could be as soon as March 29. Numbers in L.A. County are expected to reach the red tier threshold next Tuesday. They then just need to stay there for three consecutive weeks to qualify LA parks for reopening.

When the counties reach the red tier, theme parks can open at 15% of overall capacity. When they advance to the orange tier, capacity will be increased to 25%. In the least-restrictive yellow tier, a capacity of 35% will be allowed.

There will reportedly be both building capacity limit and time limitations in the parks. Indoor dining will remain closed.

“This is very exciting news. We deeply appreciate the partnership with State and Local Health and Government officials, and are thrilled to have finally arrived at this milestone announcement,” said Karen Irwin, President and COO, Universal Studios Hollywood. “The health and safety of our guests and team members remain our top priority, and we’re committed to ensuring full compliance with our newly established protocols as we continue to create an exceptional entertainment experience for everyone. We are ready to reopen, ready to bring our team members back to work, ready to help stimulate the local economy and ready to welcome guests.”

Erin Guerrero, Executive Director of the California Attractions and Parks Association was quick to praise the decision.

“Today’s announcement from the Newsom Administration is very encouraging news for California’s amusement parks,” said Guerrero. “Parks now have a framework to safely and responsibly reopen. 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 economies.”

As for outdoor sports stadiums and concerts, in the most restrictive purple tier, outdoor venues
will be strictly limited to a total of 100 people, with only local residents permitted, advance reservations or tickets required and no concessions or concourse sales allowed. In the red tier, capacity will be limited to 20% and concession sales will be primarily in-seat. In the orange tier, capacity will be limited to 33%. In the yellow tier, the least-restrictive, capacity increases to 67%.

Gov. Gavin Newsom had hinted that some sort of reopening may be in the offing. On Wednesday he said the state was having “advanced conversations” with Major League Baseball and local health authorities around California about getting fans back in the seats of outdoor stadiums by the time baseball season begins.

Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood had already announced mini-reopenings for this month, centered around food available in the parks, but without major attractions open.

Magic Mountain in Valencia announced recently that it planned on reopening this spring. Looks like they were right.

Theme park operators from Disney to Universal to Six Flags have railed for months against state limitations that have kept parks shut since March 2020. They considered the demands placed on them by Newsom’s blueprint too restrictive, arguing that there has not been a single documented case of Covid-19 traced to a theme park.

Former Warner Bros exec and now senior advisor to Governor Newsom Dee Dee Myers said in a statement, “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. We will continue to work together with our partners across all sectors of the economy, as we reopen safely, sustainably and equitably.” Myers is also director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).

The news comes one day after Governor Gavin Newsom announced changes that could allow Southern California counties and others across the state could be cleared to open more businesses and lift other restrictions sooner than anticipated.

The revamp will, for the first time, tie reopenings to vaccination totals and will prioritize getting Covid-19 vaccines to communities hardest hit by the pandemic. It will also reportedly allow counties to have a daily rate of 10 new cases per 100,000 residents, instead of the current 7 per 100,000. The test positivity threshold for the red tier won’t change from the current 8%.

The announcement comes about 12 hours after organizers of a recall effort targeting the governor announced that they had collected 1.9 million of the 2 million signatures they think they will need to ensure a vote of confidence in the governor’s performance.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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