While Disney World continues its phased reopening, on the other coast, discussions are still in the works on when theme parks, including Disneyland, can safely reopen.
California Governor Gavin Newsom held a news conference today, where a major update was announced for the state’s county monitoring system, which will go into effect on Monday, August 31.
Previously, counties were placed on a singular watch list based on certain metrics surrounding the pandemic. Based on those metrics, a county was either on the list or off the list, with modifications in place for which business sectors could reopen. Earlier this week, we had shared the news that Orange County was removed from that watch list.
Now, that system has shifted to a new, four-tier classification that lists a county’s risk level as either Minimal, Moderate, Substantial, or Widespread. Each tier has two main criteria, which are the number of new cases per 100,000 residents and positive test rate.
Looking at an updated state map for California’s counties with the new tiered color-coding implemented, it appears that Orange County, where Disneyland resides, will begin this new tiered system in the highest category, “Widespread.”
Governor Newsom highlighted that “in each tier, in order to move out of those tiers, there is now a 21-day mandatory wait time.” With Orange County in “Widespread” as of August 31, this 21-day mandatory wait time appears to indicate that the earliest the county can move to “Substantial” would be September 21. That movement, however, is predicated on “two weeks of some stability and steadiness” before a county moves into a new category.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary for the California Health and Human Services Agency, reiterated this important metric by saying “if you’re assigned a tier…starting on Monday, you should expect to be in that tier for at least three weeks. And then before you move to the next tier…you will have had to meet the criteria to be [in that tier] for at least two weeks.”
When it comes to Disneyland, one reporter asked, “I don’t see amusement parts on the sector guidance list that your office put out, so what does this mean for Disney?”
Governor Newsom responded by saying, “Specific to the issue of many, not just the one group that you mentioned, the one brand, but other amusement park operators, we are working with them. We set our discussions aside on that, they’re forthcoming, it is a very dynamic conversation. And so we didn’t include it in the update today, that is a separate conversation.”
Newsom continued on to say, “It’s an easier one to have frankly with some of the larger ones, we’re trying to accommodate for some of the other amusement activities in the state, and so you’ll be getting that as soon as we work through that. One of my afternoon meetings is in this space and we’re actively looking to see where we land on that.”
Disneyland had originally announced a reopening date of July 17, but had to delay those plans indefinitely due to a lack of industry guidelines from the state in regards to theme parks. On the state’s newly updated website, if you were to look up Orange County and theme parks, it reiterates the fact that theme parks are currently closed in the county.
We will continue to keep a close eye on California and specifically Orange County as it navigates this new tiered system. In the meantime, Disneyland has yet to announce any new reopening plans for its two theme parks or resort hotels, but the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district continues to be open daily for Guests.
Click here to read more about how California state officials are reviewing how to reopen theme parks safely.
Have you been to Downtown Disney since it reopened in July? Let us know in the comments!