It's been nearly a year since Disneyland and other theme parks in California shuttered due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Now two Southern California lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill to help parks around the state reopen faster than under the current restrictions in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
AB-420 aims to provide clear guidelines that will balance public health requirements while allowing visitors to safely return to parks such as Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Legoland, among others.
Noting the negative ripple effect keeping these parks closed has had on local economies, the bill also points out that parks in other parts of the country, such as Disney World in Florda, have been able to safely reopen.
The bill calls for theme parks to be able to reopen once in the state's tier 3 (orange), as opposed to waiting until a region reaches the least restrictive tier 4 (yellow), as the governor's plan currently requires.
Most of California currently resides in the most restrictive tier 1 (purple), meaning it would be a long time until the parks could reopen.
The California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA), which represents many of the major theme parks, fully supports the proposed legislation.
“Worldwide, theme parks have proven they can reopen responsibly while protecting the health of guests and staff," said CAPA executive director Erin Guerrero in a statement. “Nearly a year after parks closed in response to the pandemic, tens of thousands of employees remain out of work, while local businesses, communities surrounding theme parks, and local governments face ongoing negative consequences."
Last November, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk became the only California theme park to briefly reopen with rides before new restrictions were implemented and forced it to close again.
California's Great America is currently the only California theme park with a reopening date as it expects to ramp up operations on May 22, 2021.
Closed since March 2020, Disneyland is presently operating as a “super” COVID-19 vaccination site.