New regulations allow California theme parks to open with restrictions after April 1

Knotts Berry Farm prepares to reopen. Brandon Chavez / Lariat

As Coronavirus cases slow, amusement parks begin the transition to normalcy

The California Department of Public Health updated the statewide regulations on outdoor activities due to the decline of COVID-19 cases. These changes will allow California regions — that aren’t in the purple tier — to reopen theme parks such as Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knotts Berry Farm, and Six Flags under the new regulations. Attendance within these parks will encompass statewide visitors only, and masks will be mandatory, according to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Once the amusement parks are open, they will not be permitted to operate above 15% capacity, and small groups will be limited to no more than 10 people. The guidelines for indoor attraction occupancy will also have time restrictions and limit capacity to 15%.

Ken Potrock, Disneyland president, released a public statement via Twitter addressing how the company intends to move forward. 

A similar reaction from Karen Irwin, Universal Studios Hollywood president, told Deadline that she is “thrilled to have finally arrived at this milestone announcement.” Six Flags and Knotts Berry Farm have yet to release any statement and could not be reached for comment.

Amusement park employees will be required to participate in a weekly worker testing program that monitors each individual’s health and checks for a contraction of the virus. They must also follow social distancing regulations and will wear masks throughout their shift. Dee Dee Myers, the senior advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom, makes it clear that the government will not be lenient on the established health policies. 

“Throughout the pandemic, California’s business community has been committed to protecting the health and safety of workers and customers, and that won’t change now,” Myers said.

The reinstitution of these theme parks is the first of many actions. As conditions become safer, the California Department of Public Health will authorize more activities and loosen the restrictions throughout each tier.