California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced a new framework for determining when and how businesses can open in the state. And he confirmed that he is having a "dynamic" conversation with theme park companies about their return.
When asked when Disneyland might be allowed to reopen, Newsom responded:
"Specific to... amusement park operators, we are working with them," the governor said. "It is a very dynamic conversation, and so we didn't include it in the update today. That is a separate conversation. It's an easier to 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."
Previously in his daily briefing, Newsom announced a sweeping change the to state's approach toward reopening businesses. The old "watch list" system is gone, now replaced with a color-coded, four-tier system for rating counties in the state. Counties' tier position will be determined by case and testing positivity rates. A county must meet the criteria to move to a more permissive tier for two weeks before it will be allowed to move. Once a county does move, it will be frozen at that tier for three weeks before it can move again to the next-more-permissive tier.
The tiers are listed on the state's website at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy. (*See update, below) Currently, theme parks are allowed to operate only in counties rated in the most permissive, yellow-coded "minimal" spread tier. However, only 0.1 percent of the state's residents live in those counties, which are on the state eastern and northern borders. (*Update: The website has changed, and now theme parks are listed as closed in all California counties, regardless of tier status.)
Among counties with major theme parks, San Diego County is the only one not listed in the most restrictive, purple tier. San Diego, which is home to SeaWorld and Legoland, is in the red tier, which will allow limited indoor restaurant, zoo, museum and aquarium operations starting Monday.
That could allowed expanded operations at SeaWorld San Diego, which is reopening with an outdoor animal exhibits and food stands this weekend, under the old state guidance that permitted zoos and outdoor dining in the county.
Update 2: Legoland California and local San Diego officials held a press conference in Carlsbad before Governor Newsom spoke, calling for more businesses in the county to be allowed to reopen.
"Legoland is ready and eager to open once the state and county guidelines are given, Legoland California Resort President Kurt Stocks said. "All health and safety guidelines that have been approved for other San Diego attractions can easily be observed at our park and our measures go above and beyond to keep our guests and employees safe."Tweet
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