Theme park officials bristle at California's guidelines that will delay reopenings

Under the new guidelines released by the state, large theme parks can only reopen when a county reaches Tier 4.

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Thursday, October 22, 2020
Theme park officials bristle at CA's reopening guidelines
California's major theme parks will have to wait longer to reopen under new guidelines released by the state, prompting concern how the closures will further impact workers and businesses.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Concern remains over how to safely reopen theme parks in California and get thousands back to work after new guidelines released indicated major attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios will have to wait months to reopen.

The California Attractions and Park Association held a Zoom news conference Wednesday to discuss how the guidelines will affect not only the theme parks, but other businesses and thousands of workers who have lost their jobs.

"The hoteliers and the vendors and all of those different people, it begins to total in the hundreds of thousands of people that are so incredibly, negatively impacted," said Disneyland Resort president Ken Potrock.

"The tax base that all of these attractions bring to our communities is incredibly important in funding essential services for the populace," Potrock added. "And what happens when that begins to dry up?

RELATED: CA issues reopening guidelines for theme parks, outdoor stadiums after monthslong closures

California officials on Tuesday issued guidelines for reopening theme parks and outdoor sports stadiums.

The association says they want to work with Sacramento, but it will not rule out any legal action against the state.

Officials who represent the theme parks say the state guidelines are arbitrary and will hurt thousands of workers, and that the state is simply refusing to work with them to find a solution.

Under the new guidelines released Tuesday, large parks can only reopen when a county reaches Tier 4 on the state's coronavirus reopening plan.

That leaves out Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. Orange County is in Tier 2, the red tier. Los Angeles County is in Tier 1, so Universal Studios will also remain closed.

"At the heart of it, we don't see the guidelines is based in science or facts," said Karen Irwin, the COO and President of Universal Studios Hollywood. "We have proven that we can open and operate our parks safely and responsibly."

All of this comes as L.A. County says unemployment is now at 16% in the county. There has been a small increase in COVID-19 cases, but the positivity rate and other numbers are still low and they are trying to get more students into the classroom.

"We will now increase to 25% capacity for high-needs students, so more children and youth can have access to their teachers, and the on-site support systems that are so critical for their growth, and for their education," Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.

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