California Steps Up Research on Theme Parks' Return

October 12, 2020, 3:37 PM · The state of California has sent inspectors to check out theme parks around the country, as it looks forward to reopening parks within the state, Governor Gavin Newsom said today.

"We have supported an effort to actually find out directly by sending our own team to these sites as relates to theme parks, to get a better sense of what's going on. While we absolutely take people's word for information that they provide us, we want to see things for ourselves," he said in today's press conference.

"We are trying to get a better handle on what we're being told, what we're reading about, and our own concerns and our own environment as it relates to what makes our theme parks distinctive and unique. And one of the things that's self-evident, that makes them distinct and unique, is location — in and around areas where there's background transmission rates that are remaining relatively stable and, in some cases, stubborn."

"We continue in good faith to try to work to get where I know everybody wants to go, and that's to get people back to work and also create more entertainment options, but we need to do so in a safe way — we need to do so with health-first frame," the governor said. "A lot of that work will be advanced even further later this week with some on-site visits and some deeper collaboration even beyond some of the larger theme parks, [with] many of the smaller theme parks that want to maintain some distinction from those larger, well-known brands here in the state."

Gov. Newsom said that the state would publish reopening guidelines that made distinctions between those smaller amusement parks and big theme parks such as Disneyland.

"I am very mindful for example if you have in a park in a city with a Ferris wheel, that's not a 'theme park' in the sense that so many of us consider, and so one has to distinguish between the two," he said.

"There are people from all around the world that descend [on big parks], not just people that are proximate to these theme parks that come together and mix. You could say five percent of a theme park, that's thousands and thousands of people at a large theme park. If you say that [about] something on a pier, in a smaller community, it's a few hundred, and so all of this has to be considered.

"All that is distinctive and all of that requires nuance, and so we're going back and forth. We've had guidelines. We put out drafts we got a lot of feedback on those draft guidelines. Folks asked us for more time. They asked us for more deliberation [and] engagement. We're doing just that. We're seeking to understand ourselves directly without the intermediaries, and that was the frame that I was focusing on a moment ago — that we're doing our own stubborn research and going across states to learn more and not just making this an academic exercise. I want folks to come back and tell me what they saw — what their own experience was — because this is serious.

"At the end of the day, you know we maybe a 2.6 percent positivity rate, but we're entering in to not just the flu season, we're entering into a period of time where people are more likely to start congregating and mixing back indoors, as more and more indoor activity takes shape. I am very mindful of the economy, very mindful of the importance and imperative we as parents place on getting our kids back in school. I want to see more businesses reopen, and I want to see more kids back in school, but safely."

"I am very, very sober about the responsibility and the expectation that is placed upon this administration and administrations across the state to keep people safe, and at the same time to balance the economic imperative of reopening with modifications, but mindful of trend lines you're seeing across the country, and for that matter around the world — from Germany to the UK to other parts of the globe that have had setbacks as the enter into the winter months. I want to make sure we get this right, and so forgive the one witness of the answer, I just want you to know that we are very mindful of many of these nuances and we want to be responsive at the same time to the concerns that many have have raised based upon the draft guidelines that we did provide people last week."

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Replies (15)

October 12, 2020 at 4:19 PM

Oh wow, looks like Newsom reads these comments!


October 12, 2020 at 4:44 PM

I think Newsom likely knows some kind of lawsuit is coming, hence the new steps being taken. That said, nice junket for the state employees that get to check out all the parks. And why stop with US parks? Best to also see what is going on overseas!

October 12, 2020 at 4:51 PM

I volunteer as tribute!

October 12, 2020 at 5:27 PM

Yet more B.S. from California just to kick the can down the road. I never heard California officials traveling around the country to "inspect" restaurants, beaches, museums, parks, family entertainment centers, malls, and other destinations that were operating around the country.

It's obviously progress to see California at least open to seeing what's going on around the rest of the country/world, but this is so obviously a delay tactic, and an excuse to give some state cronies an excuse to take vacation in the name of public safety.

October 12, 2020 at 6:03 PM

Governor Stupid Head's sudden sense of responsibility comes on the heels of an NYT report barring the headline, At Disney World, 'Worst Fears' About Virus Have Not Come True.

From the article: "As tumultuous as the three months since the reopening have been, however, public health officials and Disney World’s unions say there have been no coronavirus outbreaks among workers or guests. So far, Disney’s wide-ranging safety measures appear to be working.

“We have no issues or concerns with the major theme parks at this point,” said Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, which includes Disney World."

October 13, 2020 at 2:52 PM

What an arduous job...

“Yeah, I needs to ride the haunted mansion again.... for research. Check the barriers between the guests and ghosts so they don’t get Covid...

October 13, 2020 at 2:54 PM

"Check the barriers between the guests and ghosts so they don’t get Covid..."

Who, the guests or the ghosts?

October 13, 2020 at 3:12 PM

Both, is that even a question?

October 13, 2020 at 3:33 PM

I think any of these groups take Newsome to court and they mostly win. They haven't taken him to court because they likely lose in the short term and long term because, the visibility of it looks like the parks are fighting for their own guest endangerment. Think about it.

On the other hand, if theme parks make really strict rules and require testing prior to entry, how could the State argue with that?

Newsome has already laid out the path, it's better for the Theme Parks arrive at that conclusion on their own and without it being force fed.

October 14, 2020 at 7:25 AM

i've been a stickler about this virus so have avoided lots of activities. that said, i feel 100% safe at the theme parks in orlando and have been going regularly. i am glad CA is finally getting around to checking out how it's done at WDW. i am sure they will be pleased with what they see and maybe CA parks will finally open!!

October 14, 2020 at 9:41 AM

WOW he is backing up! (slowly but surely). I think he's definitely read these comments!

October 14, 2020 at 11:13 AM

Why not just tell Disney: "replicate what you did at WDW?"

October 15, 2020 at 6:19 AM

Newsome or DeSantis which one is worse ?

October 15, 2020 at 2:33 PM

DeSantis. At least Newsome isn’t actively endangering people’s lives with his personal actions.

October 16, 2020 at 2:04 PM

I think the one factor everyone continues to overlook is the factors outside Disney and the States control. I still maintain that WDW has an advantage because they control a 47 square mile resort environment, Resort Properties, and all internal transportation.

Neither Disney nor they State can completely mitigate risks outside the immediate theme park area. (The area most likely to present risk)

There is a way to do this now and do it safely, it's up to Theme Parks to want to do it.

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