Mar 5, 2021 - Politics & Policy

California theme parks, sports stadiums can begin reopening April 1

Photo of the exterior of the entrance to the Disney California Adventure amusement park

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

California will allow amusement parks and sports stadiums to resume operations with limited capacity as early as April 1, per state guidance unveiled Friday.

Why it matters: As coronavirus case counts drop and the vaccine campaign ramps up, California's decision reflects renewed confidence in the safe reopening of its economy and restarting some, albeit with reduced capacity, out-of-the-house activities.

Details: The state will only permit activities that may be held outside with additional safety specifications.

  • For parks located in red tier zones — the second-strictest of California's four COVID reopening categories — parks and venues will be limited to 15% and 20% capacity, respectively.
  • In counties that progress to the orange tier, the cap rises to 25% for parks and 33% for sports venues.
  • Under the most lenient yellow tier parks can invite 35% of the guests their facilities, hold while sports venues jump to 67%.
  • In the purple tier, the strictest category, sports venues will be limited to 100 people or fewer, and advanced reservations will be required.
  • Only in-state visitors can attend. The state is prohibiting indoor dining and will limit indoor rides.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Sara Fischer: Disney's revenues and profits have taken a significant hit thanks to park closures worldwide. While the entertainment giant was able to open several resorts with provisions in China, Florida and other regions that house major parks, it said last month it didn't expect to be able to open Disneyland until the end of Q2 2021.

What they're saying: "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," Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort, said in a statement.

  • "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."
  • Of note: California Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration has continued to emphasize mask-wearing and social distancing despite the updated guidance.
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