California Theme Parks, Stadiums Can Reopen With Limited Capacity on April 1
Disneyland, Universal Studios and other California theme parks, as well as sports stadiums, have received the green light to reopen their doors after a long shutdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the California Department of Health, baseball stadiums, stadiums and theme parks will be able to open outdoors from April 1 with "significantly reduced capacity, mandatory masking and other public health precautions."
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“With significantly lower case rates and hospitalizations, the introduction of three highly effective vaccines, and targeted efforts to vaccinate the most vulnerable communities, California can gradually and safely bring back more activities, especially those that take place outdoors and where consistent masking is possible. Said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California health and welfare agency, in a statement. "Despite these changes, California retains some of the most robust public health protocols in the country."
"During the pandemic, California's business community was committed to protecting the health and safety of workers and customers - and that's not going to change now," said Dee Dee Myers, a senior advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom. "We will continue to work with our partners in all areas of the economy if we reopen safely, sustainably and fairly."
The move came after months of apparent tension between Disney and California Governor Gavin Newsom, with Ken Potrock, president of Disneyland Resort, and Erin Guerrero, executive director of the California Attractions and Parks Association. Walt Disney World reopened last July, allowing limited visitor capacity for the Orlando, Florida theme park.
"We are encouraged that theme parks now have a way to reopen this spring, get thousands of people back to work and help neighboring businesses and our entire community immensely," Potrock said in a statement Friday. "With responsible Disney security protocols already in place around the world, we can't wait to welcome our guests again and look forward to announcing an opening date soon."
At a Morgan Stanley conference on March 1, Bob Chapek, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, said he was “excited” about the reactions from guests to the health and safety protocols being implemented in reopened Disney theme parks and resorts, and noted at the same time that the industry is largely recovering depends on the pace of adoption of US vaccines and consumer willingness to go on vacation.
So far, the Disney boss has been delighted with consumer sentiment in the company's parks and believed that "demand will grow pretty well".
Disney has used the Disneyland closure to end its popular annual pass program for the Anaheim, California-based theme park and instead develop "new member offers" that are yet to be announced.
“In a non-COVID environment it would have been a pretty difficult decision to make as they keep being refreshed. However, if you start a year without an annual pass program, you have a chance, "Chapek said at the investment conference." However, we will use that to have an even better guest experience at Disneyland and manage the crowd so that regardless of which day you travel to Disneyland, you can have an extraordinary experience. "
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