California theme parks can reopen during Stage 3 of state plan

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Theme parks in California can welcome visitors once again during Stage 3 of the state’s four-stage reopening plan following closures amid the coronavirus health crisis, officials have announced.

Amusement parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California can open to the public during the third phase of the current reopening roadmap, the Orange County Register reports.

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“Theme parks are slated to open in Stage 3 if the rate of spread of COVID-19 and hospitalizations remain stable,” said Kate Folmar, California Health and Human Services Agency spokesperson.

“The science and data of how COVID-19 hospitalizations are progressing, how prepared hospitals are for increased cases and whether hospitals have adequate personal protective equipment will guide when the state enters Stage 3,” she continued.

Theme parks in California can welcome visitors once again during Stage 3 of the state’s four-stage reopening plan following closures amid the coronavirus health crisis, officials have announced.

Theme parks in California can welcome visitors once again during Stage 3 of the state’s four-stage reopening plan following closures amid the coronavirus health crisis, officials have announced. (iStock)

Folmar said that the California Department of Public Health will ultimately release “detailed guidance with suggested modifications” for theme parks to best minimize risk of the viral disease upon reopening, working both employers and employees when the time comes.

Theme parks across the Golden State have been closed since mid-March, and no specific reopening dates have yet been announced aside from that of Legoland's, which has reportedly targeted its reopening date for July 1, per the OC Register.

“Phase 3 is not a year away. It’s not six months away. It’s not even three months away. It may not even be more than a month away,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press briefing earlier this month. “We just want to make sure we have a protocol in place to secure customer safety, employee safety and allow the businesses to thrive in a way that is sustainable.”

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Theme parks across the Golden State have been closed since mid-March, and no specific reopening dates have yet been announced

Theme parks across the Golden State have been closed since mid-March, and no specific reopening dates have yet been announced (iStock)

Newsom did not disclose exactly when the state would roll out phase 3.

On Tuesday, Newsom gave the green light for hair salons and barbershops in Orange County — and other counties cleared for accelerated reopening — to resume operations and “move further ahead in Stage 2 of the resilience roadmap.”

In Stage 2 of the state’s long-term plan to reopen, retail, manufacture, office workplaces, limited personal services, outdoor museums, childcare and essential businesses can open with modifications in place.

According to Anaheim spokesperson Mike Lyster, California might issue specific guidance for theme parks in the “near term.”

Lyster told the Register that while Disneyland has not yet submitted a reopening proposal to the city, county or state, Anaheim will likely take cues from the careful reopenings of Shanghai Disneyland, which is currently open, and Walt Disney World Resort, if that reopens soon as well.

“Disney is fantastic at crowd control,” he told the Register.

Disneyland was contacted for further comment.

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On Wednesday, officials for Disney World announced they would be targeting July 11 as the tentative reopening date for select areas of the Florida theme park, albeit with restrictions and new health and safety protocol amid the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

Other theme parks in the Sunshine State say they’re shooting for similar schedules. Universal Orlando hopes to reopen on June 5, while SeaWorld is aiming for June 11.

Disney World allowed third-party businesses at its Disney Springs dining and shopping complex to open for business once again last week, also with new rules and restrictions.

Shanghai Disneyland was the first of Disney’s theme parks to reopen earlier in May, with strict limits on the number of guests allowed inside, mandatory masks and temperature checks.

Fox News' Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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