California Assembly Members Propose Opening Theme Parks

On Thursday, California Assembly member Sharon Quirk-Silva announced that she would be co-sponsoring a bill to require the state to allow all theme parks to reopen in the same COVID guidelines tier. Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez-Valladares, whose district includes Six Flags Magic Mountain, has agreed to co-sponsor the bill, which is known as AB 420.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who introduced the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, would permit small parks, with less than 15,000 visitor capacity, to open when the state reaches the orange or moderate tier. However, large parks like Disneyland and Universal would not be allowed to open until the state hits the yellow tier, meaning a low level of COVID infections.

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“As a veteran of the theme park industry, I intimately understand their operations, their procedures, and their ability to move people and keep them safe,” Martinez-Valladares said. “The industry, and Six Flags Magic Mountain in my district, has been closed for nearly a year, while parks in other states have been open to the public and serving them safely.

According to Universal Studios Hollywood President Karen Irwin, Universal Parks are operating safely in other locations. “This extended closure has been both unprecedented and detrimental to our business and workforce,” Irwin said. “Universal Parks & Resort theme parks in Orlando, Osaka and Singapore have all successfully and safely operated without incident or cases attributed to their daily operations since mid-last year.”

Irwin maintains that closing larger theme parks in tier 4 would keep them closed indefinitely and have a devastating effect on jobs in the theme park business. The Covid-19 pandemic cost Disney’s parks, experiences and products segment more than $2.4 billion in lost operating income last year. With its California parks unable to open, Disney laid off 28,000 workers across the parks division in September.

The California Department of Public Health has ended the Regional Stay Home Order across California as projected ICU availability exceeds 15%. Counties will return to their assigned Blueprint tiers and are encouraged to continue following safe practices, avoiding crowds and wearing a mask when leaving home.

Source: Variety

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