“We can’t wait,” wrote Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock on Friday. Potrock was reacting to the announcement by California health officials that the state will allow reopening of outdoor stadiums, ball parks and theme parks beginning April 1st.
Potrock, in a statement posted to the official Disney Parks News Twitter account, added that park management and employees “look forward to sharing an official opening date soon.”
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That’s because Orange County, where Disneyland is located, needs to make progress on its Covid-19 metrics before parks there can reopen. In the state’s newly-adjusted Blueprint for a Safer Economy, theme parks may open when their host county reaches the red tier. Orange and Los Angeles counties are currently one level above, in the more severe purple tier. But they could qualify for the red tier as soon as March 29. Numbers in both counties are expected to reach the red tier threshold this Tuesday. They then just need to stay there for three consecutive weeks to qualify theme parks for reopening. For more on the state’s new reopening rules, click here.
In his statement, Potrock stressed lessons learned from other Disney parks, citing “responsible Disney safety protocols we’ve already implemented around the world.”
That emphasis on already-established health protocols was also clear in a statement from Universal Studios Hollywood President and COO Karen Irwin.
“This is very exciting news,” Irwin wrote. “We deeply appreciate the partnership with State and Local Health and Government officials, and are thrilled to have finally arrived at this milestone announcement. The health and safety of our guests and team members remain our top priority, and we’re committed to ensuring full compliance with our newly established protocols as we continue to create an exceptional entertainment experience for everyone. We are ready to reopen, ready to bring our team members back to work, ready to help stimulate the local economy and ready to welcome guests.”
In fact the trade organization that represents the state’s theme parks, the California Attractions and Parks Association, has long argued that parks know how to control infection saying it is, in a sense, a business they have long been in: keeping visitors safe and healthy.
In its Safe Reopening Plan, issued last year, CAPA wrote: “Cleanliness and guest safety have always been hallmarks of California’s amusement parks. Their plans include thorough sanitization and disinfection protocols throughout their facilities.”
CAPA Executive Director Erin Guerrero issued the following statement following the state’s announcement on Friday:
Today’s announcement from the Newsom Administration is very encouraging news for California’s amusement parks. Parks now have a framework to safely and responsibly reopen. We appreciate the Administration’s willingness to work with the State’s theme parks on the finer details of the plan so parks can responsibly reopen soon, putting people safely back to work and reinvigorating local economies.
Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood had already announced mini-reopenings for this month, centered around food available in the parks, but without major attractions open. LA-area parks have been closed since March 2020.
Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia announced recently that it planned on reopening this spring. Looks like they were right.