California establishes strict conditions for reopening of amusement parks

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California establishes strict conditions for reopening of amusement parks




The desolate entrance of Disneyland in California, in September 2020


© MARIO TAMA
The desolate entrance of Disneyland in California, in September 2020


California authorities published this Tuesday strict conditions for the reopening of amusement parks such as Disneyland, which closed in March due to the pandemic and that they consider these new measures represent an “indefinite closure.

For them to be operational again, the counties where these parks are located must be at the “yellow” level, the lowest on a four-level scale for virus control.

In Orange County, for example, where Disneyland is, the level is “red” or three, while Universal Studios, in Los Angeles County, is “purple,” the most restrictive.

It is not clear when the “yellow” level will be reached, amid new outbreaks of covid-19 in the country.

“There is a way,” said the head of the state’s health services, Mark Ghaly. “We don’t know when it will be, but we know how.”

The rules state that once it can be opened, the largest parks will only be able to operate at 25% capacity, users will have to make reservations and wear masks at all times, except when they are eating and drinking.

California parks closed in March. In September, Disney announced that it would cut 28,000 jobs, condemning the authorities’ position not to relax restrictions and allow them to reopen.

Its park in Florida opened in mid-July, with reduced capacity and strict sanitation measures.

“We have demonstrated that we can reopen responsibly, with science-based health and safety protocols that are strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world,” said Ken Potrock, president of Disneyland Resort, rejecting the “arbitrary guidelines” announced Tuesday.

Potrock assured that the protocols are “unworkable.” “They force us to adhere to a very different standard than other reopened companies and state-operated facilities,” he added.

Erin Guerrero, president of the California amusement park association, estimated for her part that these measures will devastate the industry because basically “they will keep the theme parks closed indefinitely.”

“This plan prolongs the unemployment of tens of thousands of people, accelerates the bankruptcy of families and small businesses adjacent to the parks, and contributes to the insolvency of local governments whose budgets depend on the parks as an economic anchor,” he said in a release.

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