California’s director of health and human services said this week that smaller theme parks can resume operations in the state’s Orange Tier (“moderate” Covid rates), but relegated Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood to the Yellow Tier (“minimal” Covid rates), which might be a long way’s off. (The Orange Tier is when new daily case rates are 1-3.9 per 100,000 people and a 2-4.9% positive test rate; The Yellow Tier is when new daily case rates are less than 1 per 100,000 people and a less than 2% positive test rate.)
Orange County, home of Disneyland, is currently in the Red Tier (“substantial” Covid rates) and Los Angeles County, where Universal is located, is under the most restrictive Purple Tier (“widespread” Covid rates). Once at the Orange Tier, some parks will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity or 500 visitors, whichever is fewer; only outdoor attractions may reopen, and guests must be residents of the same county. In the Yellow Tier, the guest limit will be 25% throughout the parks.
Obviously, the announcement drew sharp criticism, especially from Disney. Disneyland Resort president Ken Potrock said: “We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world. Nevertheless, the state of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities.
“These state guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands more people out of work, leading to the inevitable closure of small family-owned businesses, and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community.”
Click here to read the full Deadline article and get more information about the future of theme parks in Southern California.