Disneyland and Universal Studios Urging California Governor to Allow Them to Reopen

Disneyland, Universal Studios, and the other members of the California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA) are urging California Governor Gavin Newsom to reopen theme parks across the state as soon as possible. In a statement released Monday by CAPA executive director Erin Guerrero, the group revealed it's hoping to get residents back to work quickly in a safe manner. In addition to representing Disneyland and Universal Studios, the Sacramento-based organization represents Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and California's Great America.

All locations have been shuttered since March as Los Angeles and the surrounding area served as a hotbed for coronavirus activity.

“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,” Guerrero's statement read.

It added, “Six months ago California’s amusement parks and attractions made the difficult decision to close voluntarily in response to COVID — and the impacts have been devastating. Tens of thousands of jobs have been weighing in the balance. Hundreds of millions of tax revenue that support critical local, state, and federal programs, lost. And local businesses that rely on amusement parks continue to struggle, with many closing permanently.”

As early as April, CAPA recommended certain guidelines for its members to adapt, including mandatory facemasks, increased social distancing standards, increased sanitization stations, and contactless payments amongst other procedures. Guerrero's statement adds the state hasn't been forthcoming in helping the parks plan for their eventual reopenings.

“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,” the statement added. “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.”

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Some of the parks have partially reopened where allowed, though rides remain shuttered throughout the state. Legoland reopened its indoor aquarium as the state started to relax guidelines last month, though its rides remain closed. Earlier this fall, Walt Disney World Resort began a phased reopening as the state of Florida allowed. Disney and Hong Kong are also preparing to reopen Disneyland Hong Kong.

Cover photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images