California theme parks, including Disneyland Resort, are still at odds with the state as it continues to work out reopening guidelines.
The reopening of California theme parks is dependent on the release of guidelines from the state. Disney has been pushing for this guidance, which was originally expected this week before the state announced it would be postponed pending further input from experts.
Disney officials had expressed concern over some of the guidelines in the state’s initial plans, and Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said theme parks need “attainable guidelines” that allow them to safely reopen soon and get people back to work. And information shared by The Orange County Register sheds more light on the specifics surrounding the state’s initial draft of reopening guidelines.
The state’s initial draft reportedly stipulates that individual theme parks can reopen only once their county reaches the least-restrictive “minimal” risk level, they must operate at 25% of attendance capacity, and limit visitors to residents living within a 120-mile radius of each theme park.
These guidelines present two challenges for theme parks. First, placing theme parks in the final tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy means the severity of the guidelines never change until the pandemic ends. And second, reaching the least-restrictive “minimal” tier could be difficult to nearly impossible for California’s most-populous counties.
This means that the initial guidelines would likely prevent California theme parks from reopening for weeks or months. Theme parks located in counties at the “substantial” level — including Disneyland Resort — won’t be able to reach the least-restrictive “minimal” level for at least three to six weeks.
Under the draft guideline proposal, California theme parks would not be able to reopen until late October or November at the earliest. And if a best-case scenario is not reached, reopening dates could be pushed to December or next year. Which would make setting a reopening date for the theme parks very difficult under the current drafted guidelines.