Eight mayors from cities across California — including Los Angeles' Eric Garcetti — have written a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom asking him to reconsider the state's reopening guidelines for theme parks.
Here is the letter [updated with full text]: "As mayors of the Big City Mayor's Coalition representing some of the largest cities in California, we again thank you for your leadership during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
"We write to you today regarding the ongoing discussion surrounding the safe re-opening protocols for some of the largest economic engines in many of our communities – large theme parks.
"The guidelines put forth by your Administration were released within the framework of prioritizing public health and safety for guests and employees. This is the right focus. However, economic and public health are not mutually exclusive goals. We are concerned that the state's guidelines would push re-opening of large theme parks up to a year out, which would have significant negative impacts on hundreds of thousands of jobs, thousands of small businesses, and billions in operating revenue for our cities.
"As you may have recently seen, labor unions and employee groups representing many of the workers at these theme parks have joined in calls for a timely, safe reopening. This call is a result of their direct knowledge of the health and safety protocols, and their need to get back to work.
"We therefore respectfully request that your Administration work with our most impacted coalition members – Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego – to continue the discussion of how we can maintain a health-first focus while modifying protocols to allow large theme parks to open in Tier Three with reduced capacity, rather than Tier Four.
"We all understand the difficult balance of protecting public health while allowing safe economic activity. We are grounded in the evidence we and your Administration have seen in large theme parks in or near our jurisdictions, and from theme park reopening efforts in the nation and worldwide, that this can occur. For example, by means of 25% capacity limit, required advance ticket reservations, mandatory mask wearing with strict enforcement, and temperature screening at entrances. To the extent that your health care officials have seen different data, we would appreciate understanding it, because we want to be supportive of your efforts.
"Please let us know when our members can arrange a timely briefing with your Administration to understand these new guidelines and the impact they will have on our public health and economies."
The letter was signed by Garcetti, Anaheim's Harry Sidhu, San Diego's Kevin Faulconer, San Jose's Sam Liccardo, Fresno's Lee Brand, Bakersfield's Karen Goh, Riverside's Rusty Bailey, and Santa Ana's Miguel Pulido.
The guidelines released by the state last month would not allow big parks such as Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knott's Berry Farm, SeaWorld San Diego, and Six Flags Magic Mountain to open until their counties reach the state's "Yellow" Tier 4 for "minimal" Covid-19 transmission. Disneyland's Orange County is currently in Tier 2, while Universal's Los Angeles County remains in Tier 1, the state's most restrictive.
However, several theme parks in the state have resumed partial operations under reopening guidance for other industries, including zoos, dining, and retail.
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