ANAHEIM, Calif. -- California will allow certain outdoor activities to resume with capacity restrictions, including the reopening of theme parks, as early as April 1, health officials announced Friday.
Theme parks may open at 15% capacity when their respective counties enter the state's red tier designation, Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services, said during a conference call update on the coronavirus pandemic.
The limited reopening would not include indoor rides, Ghaly said, and theme parks initially would only be open to California residents.
Under the new guidelines, there will be both a building capacity limitation and a time limitation. A ride that takes place indoors or goes into a building for a brief period of time may open if it meets both of these requirements.
Indoor dining will continue to be banned for the time being.
'A Touch of Disney' experience coming to Disney California Adventure Park
Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock issued a statement shortly after the announcement was made.
"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. 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."
The United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents many employees at Anaheim's Disneyland Resort, also applauded Friday's announcement.
"Our Disney cast members are heartened by this good news today that the Disney parks will be reopening in a month," Andrea Zinder, president of UFCW Local 324, said in a statement. "They have been furloughed or out of a job for a year now and are excited to go back to work to provide Californians with a bit more magic in their lives. Our priority will be to continue to work closely with the Governor and Disney to ensure our members are kept safe from COVID-19 infections on the job as the parks reopen."
Assembly Bill 420 was introduced last month by Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, a Santa Clarita Republican whose district includes Magic Mountain, and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat from Orange County whose district borders Disneyland.
The bill sought to allow large theme parks to reopen sooner.
Universal Studios Hollywood, one of Southern California's other large theme parks, called it "exciting news."
"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," said Karen Irwin, President and COO of the park.
The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of Disneyland Resort and this station.