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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