15/06/2024 10:34 PM


Fashion The Revolution

New California bill aims to accelerate reopening of Disneyland and other major theme parks

For nearly a year, Disneyland and California’s other large theme parks have mostly been quiet, shuttered to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some, like Disneyland and Magic Mountain in Valencia, have seen a different kind of visitor in their new roles as mass vaccination sites. 
Now lawmakers in Southern California are proposing a bill that would speed up reopening, ahead of the state’s plans.

On Thursday, Assemblymembers Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, and Suzette Martinez Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, introduced a bipartisan bill, AB420, that could potentially see large amusement parks reopen at the same time as medium-sized ones, in the orange tier. That tier indicates moderate spread of COVID-19, with daily cases ranging from 1 to 3.9 new daily cases per 100,000 people.

Both assemblymembers represent areas that have been impacted by theme park closures; Quirk-Silva’s district includes West Anaheim, where Disneyland is, as well as Buena Park, home to Knott’s Berry Farm. Martinez Valladares’ district includes Valencia, home of Six Flags Magic Mountain.

The state’s plan was to have large theme parks only reopen in the yellow tier, which indicates that spread is minimal, with less than 1 new daily case per 100,000 people. Even then, capacity would be capped at 25%.

The theme park industry in California has been decimated by the extended closures. Disney laid off more than 11,500 employees in Disneyland alone in December, the Orange County Register reported.

“The industry, and Six Flags Magic Mountain in my district, has been closed for nearly a year, while parks in other states have been open to the public and serving them safely,” said Martinez Valladares in a statement. “By opening our theme parks, we will trigger a ripple effect to our local economy, and in turn, create more jobs. It’s time to offer clear guidelines that will balance public health and the need to safely get people back to work, and this bill is the first step.”

“Worldwide, theme parks have proven they can reopen responsibly while protecting the health of guests and staff,” added Erin Guerrero, executive director of the California Attractions and Parks Association, in the statement. “Science and data show it can be done. California should allow theme parks to reopen responsibly in the Orange – Moderate – Tier 3.”

Currently, much of Southern California, including Orange County and Los Angeles County, are in the purple tier, indicating widespread transmission of COVID-19.

Only one theme park in California has announced a reopening date: Great America in Santa Clara. On its website, the park said it would reopen on May 22.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6 p.m., Feb. 5, to correct the location of Great America. It is located in Santa Clara, not San Jose.