California theme parks set to reopen next month
Magic Mountain and the Happiest Place on Earth are planning to hopefully reopen, ensuring safety protocols in April.
By Anthony Lopez, Staff Writer
California theme parks such as Disneyland, Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain are striving to reopen their doors once more in April as safety guidelines gradually lift.
According to a statement by the state Department of Public Health released on March 5, safety guidelines would allow theme parks to reopen at 15 percent capacity as early as April 1 once their counties reach the red, or second most restrictive, tier of reopening. Capacity levels will be able to shift once a theme park's home county improves into the orange, then yellow tiers. Last week, Magic Mountain and Disneyland each released an announcement stating that their parks will officially be opened on April 1 and April 30, respectively. Universal Studios has yet to announce an opening date.
"With case rates and hospitalizations significantly lower, the arrival of three highly effective vaccines and targeted efforts aimed at vaccinating the most vulnerable communities, California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible," Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said in a statement.
In the orange tier, capacity can increase to 25 percent, and then to 35 percent in the yellow tier. Attendance will still be limited to in-state visitors in all tiers of reopening.
“California’s amusement parks are excited to responsibly reopen under the recently released state guidance,” California Attractions and Parks Association Executive Director Erin Guerrero said in a statement.
While visiting Disneyland parks, restaurants, stores, and most attractions will be open to the public. There will also be mask relaxation areas — locations where visitors are allowed to take off their masks for a 30 minute period.
Safety protocols will be displayed throughout all the California theme parks. While in the parks, such as Universal Studios, team members and guests will be required to wear a facemask, temperature checks will be required upon arrival (guests with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater will not be admitted) and at select locations — including prior to boarding ride vehicles — guests will be required to use hand sanitizer.
In its Responsible Reopening Plan, CAPA will additionally require guests to wear face coverings on amusement park rides to reduce the effects of shouting.
As reported by the Orange County Register, California lost 44,000 theme park jobs between July 2019 and July 2020. However, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Disneyland has recalled 1,000 workers and has begun to do the same for another 10,000 furloughed employees. Universal Studios is also looking to rehire about 5,000 employees.
“I am excited to see everyone again and create some magic,” said Universal Studios retail worker Ashley Willingham.