California Mayors Call on Gov. Newsom to Modify Guidelines for Theme Park Reopenings

Disneyland March 14 2020
Getty

"We are concerned that the state’s guidelines would push reopening of large theme parks up to a year out, which would have significant negative impacts on hundreds of thousands of jobs, thousands of small businesses, and billions in operating revenue for our cities," reads the letter.

Eight California mayors sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom over the weekend urging him to reconsider the stringent guidelines issued in order for major theme parks to reopen.

"The guidelines put forth by your Administration were released within the framework of prioritizing public health and safety for guests and employees," reads the letter dated Oct. 30. "This is the right focus. However, economic and public health are not mutually exclusive goals. We are concerned that the state’s guidelines would push re-opening of large theme parks up to a year out, which would have significant negative impacts on hundreds of thousands of jobs, thousands of small businesses, and billions in operating revenue for our cities.”

The mayors who signed the letter are Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido.

"As you may have recently seen, labor unions and employee groups representing many of the workers at these theme parks have joined in calls for a timely, safe reopening," reads the letter. "This call is a result of their direct knowledge of the health and safety protocols, and their need to get back to work. We therefore respectfully request that your Administration work with our most impacted coalition members — Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego — to continue the discussion of how we can maintain a health-first focus while modifying protocols to allow large theme parks to open in Tier Three with reduced capacity, rather than Tier Four."

Last month, State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly introduced the guidelines, under which Disneyland and Universal Studios (which were labeled higher-risk settings than outdoor stadiums) can operate under Tier 4 "Yellow" (minimal) with a limited capacity of 25 percent. Orange County is currently in the "Red" (substantial) tier. Los Angeles County is at Tier 1 "Purple" (widespread). Once open, a reservation system will be required (no day-of ticket sales) and masks will be required at the theme parks.

At first, Newsom would not budge on reopening theme parks after the state experienced a huge spike of COVID-19 cases in June, which derailed Disney's July plan. Since that time, Disney has been the most vocal about being provided a path to reopen.

Officials from the major theme parks and California Attractions & Parks Association said they were considering legal action.