Well, that answer came quickly.
Yesterday, I asked Could Disneyland Reopen in April? Today, the answer came from California Governor Gavin Newsom's office: "Yes."
Amusement parks in the state will be allowed to reopen starting April 1, provided their home counties reach the redefined Red Tier 2 status, which Disneyland's Orange County and Universal Studios Hollywood's Los Angeles County will be able to meet should their adjusted new-Covid case rates per 100,000 residents not rise above today's levels. San Diego County is just above that level and would need to see its case level decline for SeaWorld to be allowed to reopen as a theme park on April 1, though it is currently operating without rides as a zoo.
Under the new rules, theme parks would be limited to 15 percent capacity, with indoor attractions and shops limited to the same 15 percent capacity and no indoor dining permitted. Only Californians would be allowed to visit and park employees would need to be tested for Covid weekly.
At the Orange Tier 3 level, which would be reached once the case rate drops below 4, (or 6, once the state administers four million vaccines to hardest-hit communities), parks could increase capacity to 25 percent. Overall capacity rises to 35 percent in the Yellow Tier 1, though indoor capacity would remain at 25 percent. Visits would remain limited to California residents.
"With case rates and hospitalizations significantly lower, the arrival of three highly effective vaccines and targeted efforts aimed at vaccinating the most vulnerable communities, California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible," California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. "Even with these changes, California retains some of the most robust public health protocols in the country."
"We are encouraged that theme parks now have a path toward reopening this spring, getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses and our entire community," Disneyland President Ken Potrock said. "With responsible Disney safety protocols already implemented around the world, we can’t wait to welcome our guests back and look forward to sharing an opening date soon."
"This is very exciting news. We deeply appreciate the partnership with State and Local Health and Government officials, and are thrilled to have finally arrived at this milestone announcement," Universal Studios Hollywood President Karen Irwin said. "The health and safety of our guests and team members remain our top priority, and we’re committed to ensuring full compliance with our newly established protocols as we continue to create an exceptional entertainment experience for everyone. We are ready to reopen, ready to bring our team members back to work, ready to help stimulate the local economy and ready to welcome guests."
What today's announced changes mean for the special events that most California parks had planned for April and beyond remains to be seen. And, as I suggested yesterday, approval to reopen and an actual reopening date can be two different things, as parks take the time they need to recall employees and reopen ticket sales to the public.
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