Common Studios Now Permitting Out-Of-State Guests; Disneyland Not – .
UPDATED with latest: As the wave of theme park reopenings continues across California after the lockdown, access for fully vaccinated visitors outside of the state has begun.
Recently changed state and local regulations were confusing – see the story below – and most parks played it safe and opened only to California residents. This past week brought more clarity.
The deadline confirmed that the state of California actually allows fully vaccinated visitors outside of the state to attend local amusement parks. Los Angeles County also changed its ordinance for health officials last week: “Visitors outside of the state who are fully vaccinated can purchase tickets and visit amusement parks, theme parks, or trade shows.”
California theme parks have reopening guidelines: indoor rides are fine, but masks must be worn
While Disneyland officially reopened its doors today, it was only for residents of the state. Many other parks are also waiting for more clarification from state officials about what is allowed. Orange County, where Disneyland is located, has generally adhered to state reopening guidelines.
When it reopened on April 16, Universal Studios also didn’t allow guests out of state, regardless of whether they were fully vaccinated or not. But that has changed. The park made the switch on Wednesday so non-residents who can show proof of vaccination and valid ID can purchase tickets.
There may be more room for out-of-staters next week. Los Angeles key metrics on Tuesday met the requirements for the least stringent reopening in California, Yellow, for the first time. If they do this again in the coming week – as expected – theme parks in Los Angeles may reopen from the current 25% to 35%. That is, when Los Angeles County’s health officials revert to state guidelines.
For other sectors, Los Angeles County once again eased its health restrictions on Covid-19 today, allowing indoor playgrounds and arcades to reopen with limited capacity, while operating time restrictions on bars, breweries and wineries were lifted.
Indoor arcades and playgrounds – such as laser tag companies, ball pits, or jump centers – are limited to 25% capacity along with other mandatory safety modifications.
Orange County, where Disneyland is located, is further away. It’s firmly anchored in the orange or temperate tier of the state’s blueprint for a safer economy, and it would take two consecutive weeks in yellow to expand its capacity.
BEFORE on April 22nd: Southern California’s huge theme parks are reopening after more than a year of Covid-induced closings. Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia and Legoland in Carlsbad have already opened their doors.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park will reopen on April 30th, while nearby Knott’s Berry Farm will reopen on May 6th.
But the parks, which employ more than 135,000 workers and produce more than $ 14 billion in annual state trade according to a trade organization, dust their attractions with more than a little uncertainty. After months of industry pleading, California health officials finally issued guidelines for the reopening in late March.
In the Orange tier of the state’s reopening plan, which includes all of Southern California’s areas, park operators are allowed to:
• Internal capacity maximum 25% with time restrictions
• Weekly work test program
• With other modifications
• For in-state visitors only, check that the current CDPH travel advisory is valid
But an “addendum” to the reopening rules tacitly published by the state last Friday seems to contradict this last point. While the language of the original amusement park document remains unchanged, at the end of the document under the heading “Fully Vaccinated Visitors and Spectators” is the following general point:
• Fully vaccinated individuals from outside the state can attend or participate in activities or events that are only intended for visitors to the state. Fully vaccinated individuals should consult the current CDPH travel advice and follow all applicable recommendations.
The CDPH Travel Advisory mentioned above states that fully vaccinated non-Californians “should follow CDC travel instructions and should not be tested or quarantined before or after travel unless they have symptoms related to COVID-19 disease The CDC guidelines state, “Individuals fully vaccinated with an FDA-cleared vaccine can travel safely in the US.”
Additionally, CDC data shows that the fall rate in California is the second lowest in the US, just a hair behind Hawaii.
However, many of the state’s largest parks wait for state clarity before welcoming visitors outside of the state.
On Friday, . learned from a California Department of Health source that the list of reopening rules contained in last Friday’s addendum did not include live indoor events or concerts. What is affected by this “Activity or Event” addendum are cinemas, museums, zoos and aquariums. These seem to be much less eventful than concerts.
Given the dissonance, it’s understandable that theme park officials would be cautious about making reservations for out-of-staters. The attitude is supported by the industry’s trading group, the California Amusement Parks Association. CAPA allows interstate visitors while retaining the addendum, but made the following comment on .:
The amusement parks’ responsible reopening plans are based on the state’s blueprint for a safer economy, which was recently updated with an addendum to the Blueprint Activity & Business Tiers Chart. This addendum now allows fully vaccinated individuals outside of the state to attend or participate in activities or events previously restricted to state visitors only. As vaccinations become more prevalent and government guidelines evolve, individual parks can update their own responsibly reopening plans in accordance with state and local public health regulations.
It’s not the first time that California’s theme parks have been on a different side than state officials.
Last year, the theme park industry ranted for months over Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to keep its operations closed despite easing requirements for other industries. Newsom announced that Disney chairman Bob Iger has resigned from the governor’s council of economic advisers due to disagreements over theme parks. Disney, Six Flags, and Universal executives went public with criticism of Newsom’s policies.
In October, Ken Potrock, President of Disneyland Resort said, “We have proven we can responsibly reopen, while strictly adhering to science-based health and safety protocols in our theme park buildings around the world. Still, the state of California continues to ignore this fact.Instead, it must impose arbitrary guidelines that are known to be unenforceable and that hold us to a standard very different from other reopened businesses and state-run facilities. “
Despite the state’s amendment last Friday, Anaheim Disneyland Resort Parks still only allow visitors from the state. At this time, reservations are only available for in-state guests on the Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain websites. Legoland’s booking page also states: “Access to the theme park is only available to visitors in the state.” Ditto Knott’s berry farm.
Sea World, on the other hand, allows visitors outside of the state. The park’s reservations page states, “Covid-19 restrictions restrict entry to California visitors, and now visitors outside of the state must provide proof of a fully completed COVID-19 vaccine.”
The deadline has repeatedly reached out to the California Department of Health to find out which of the addendum’s restrictions apply to which business areas, but has yet to be resolved.
The City News Service contributed to this report.
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