Disney, Rivals Take Aim at California’s Park-Reopening Rules

California’s Department of Public Health is poised to issue guidelines for reopening theme parks, and some of the state’s operators are already pushing back.

Parks would be allowed to reopen at just 25% of capacity and would have to limit visitors to people living within a certain distance, according to Carlye Wisel, an industry podcaster. They’ll also require advance reservations and mandatory face coverings.

HEADS UP: got a tip that Newsom may submit theme park guidance this evening.
according to the tip, restrictions include:
– requiring advanced ticket sales
– 25% park occupancy
– face coverings
– admission limited to people residing within a certain distance of the parks
3:51 AM · Oct 1, 2020

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A spokesman for the health department said the rules are coming this week but couldn’t confirm the details. However a trade group representing park operators issued a statement urging the governor to withhold the recommendations pending more negotiations.

“While we are aligned on many of the protocols and health and safety requirements, there are many others that need to be modified if they are to lead to a responsible and reasonable amusement park reopening plan,” the California Attractions & Parks Association said Thursday in an emailed statement.

The protocols are one step in the approval process for parks to reopen. Counties where the properties are located will also have to meet milestones for progress in the fight against Covid-19.

Operators including Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp.’s Universal Studios and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. have been pressing Governor Gavin Newsom to let them reopen. Earlier this week, 19 state legislators wrote a letter to the governor, a Democrat, saying the time had come.

Theme parks in Florida, the largest market, began reopening in June and have done so without large outbreaks, according to officials in that state.

Disney said this week it is laying off 28,000 U.S. workers in its domestic resorts operation, roughly a quarter of the workforce in that division.

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