Update on Calif. theme park reopening guidelines to come Tuesday, Newsom says

California

California officials on Tuesday will provide an update on the reopening guidelines for the state’s theme parks, which have now been closed for more than seven months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state has delayed releasing the much-anticipated guidelines that would pave the way for theme parks like Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain, to welcome back guests, maintaining that the decision will be based on science and data.

But with the state starting to see a decline in the average of daily new coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said an update on that sector is forthcoming. The information will be provided by California Secretary Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly at his weekly Tuesday news conference, according to the governor.

“I hope one recognizes our stubbornness on a health-first, data-driven decision-making process is done with our eyes wide open now on what’s happening now around the world, not just what’s happened across the United States,” Newsom said.

It appears, however, that perhaps only part of the sector will be addressed, as the governor emphasized that the state is going to “break up the theme parks” in terms of reopenings.

“It’s not just one or two brands, it’s many different parts that are part of the theme park industry,” Newsom explained. He did not provide further details about what Ghaly would be discussing.

For weeks, Disneyland, along with city and county officials, have put pressure on the state to issue the guidance that would allow the ailing industry to resume operations.

In the hopes that a reopening could come in the near future, the Anaheim theme parks have already added a series of new COVID-19 health and safety recommendations from the Orange County Health Care Agency. Officials with the agency were among those that toured the Disneyland Resort earlier this month.

And on Monday, unions representing thousands of Disney cast members — the company’s parlance for its employees — added to the chorus, sending a letter to the governor calling for California to issue the guidelines, according to a news release from one of the unions, UNITE HERE Local 11.

The letter came days after Disney reached an agreement with 11 of the 15 unions representing cast members.

In the letter, the unions indicate they have made progress working with Disney to implement health and safety guidelines, the release stated. As such, they believe Disneyland should be permitted to open again when Orange County moves into the less-restrictive orange tier.

Orange County remains in the red tier of California’s four-stage, color-coded system to guide reopenings, and it’s unclear when the county will be allowed to move to the next phase.

Los Angeles County — home to Universal Studios and Magic Mountain — is still in the most-restrictive purple tier, casting doubt on whether those theme parks would be allowed to reopen anytime soon.

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