Reopening guidelines for theme parks, which have mostly been closed for more than seven months in California due to the coronavirus pandemic, are expected to be announced Tuesday. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the long-awaited guidelines will be announced Tuesday by California Health and Human Services secretary Mark Ghaly. Newsom said last week that he expected separated guidelines for large and small theme parks.

“I am very mindful, for example, if you have a park in a city with a Ferris wheel that that’s not a ‘theme park’ in the sense so many of us consider,” Newsom said. “So one has to distinguish between the two.”

Theme park closures were part of California’s move in mid-March to set limits on business operations to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld in San Diego, Universal Studios Hollywood and other locations have been shut down since that first-in-the-nation statewide order.

The closures have taken a toll. Last month, Disney announced plans to lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products division, the company said.

The company’s park in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have reopened with limited capacity, but both California Adventure and Disneyland remain closed in Anaheim. 

Draft state guidance proposed in early October would have let theme parks reopen at 25 percent capacity once the counties where they are located reached the lowest level for virus transmission in the state’s four-tier reopening system, the Orange County Register reported. The proposed rules also would have limited visits to residents living within a certain distance from the park, the Register reported.

Negotiations continued following industry criticism of the proposal.

Orange County remains in the state’s red tier for reopening, the second most restrictive tier. Los Angeles remains in the most restrictive purple tier. 

Coronavirus Deaths in Your City and State — and Across the US

These charts use daily coronavirus death data from Johns Hopkins University to show the seven-day moving average of deaths at the city, state and country level.

The impact of coronavirus varies enormously in the United States from one place to another.

Source: Johns Hopkins University.
Credit: Visuals by Amy O’Kruk/NBC, data analysis by Ron Campbell/NBC


By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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