After shutting down for six months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Disneyland and Universal Studios are asking California Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow theme parks in the state to reopen.
The California Attractions and Parks Association, which represents popular theme parks like Knott’s Berry Farm, Legoland, Disneyland and Universal Studios, called on the governor Monday to implement COVID-19 regulations to allow the parks to get back to business.
“California’s amusement parks urge the Governor to issue amusement park guidelines expeditiously so these vital community attractions can reopen their doors in a responsible manner and get residents back to work,” Erin Guerrero, CAPA’s executive director, said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Disneyland and Universal shut their doors in mid-March after Newsom’s order to suspend large gatherings. Guerrero said during the parks’ closures, they’ve had time to work on reopening plans that would allow them to safely welcome guests.
When will Disneyland reopen? COVID-19 surge keeps California theme parks in limbo
“Over those six months, parks crafted detailed plans to reopen –- they include capacity reductions, face covering requirements, robust health and safety protocols for both guests and employees, and significant modifications to support physical distancing,” Guerrero said in the statement. “These practices will promote health and safety in ways that many activities Californians are currently engaging in won’t. However, in order to reopen, parks require guidance from the state and that guidance has not been forthcoming.”
Guerrero also said “tens of thousands of jobs” are in jeopardy and that local businesses that rely on these amusement parks are struggling to stay open.
Disneyland was supposed to reopen on July 17, but that was postponed as coronavirus cases surged in California during the first half of the summer. The state had more than 757,778 cases as of Monday, according to the California Department of Public Health.
In August, more than a month after Florida’s Disney World reopened, the head of Disney’s theme parks said the company is ready to reopen Disneyland as soon as California officials establish health and safety guidelines that would allow theme parks to reopen.
The city of Anaheim is currently in Stage 2 of its reopening plan, which excludes theme parks.
Contributing: Curtis Tate