County health agency recommends reopening Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm – Orange County Register

Local health authorities have given the green light for Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm to reopen while California theme parks await reopening guidelines from Gov. Gavin Newsom after more than six months of coronavirus closures.

The Orange County Health Care Agency has recommended the state allow Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Knott’s Berry Farm to reopen once Orange County moves into the “moderate” tier of Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, according to county health officer and agency director Clayton Chau.

O.C. Health officials have worked closely with Disney to prepare for the reopening of its Anaheim theme parks, according to Chau.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland layoffs include 2,800 restaurant workers, food cart vendors and Club 33 staff

Disneyland, DCA, Knott’s and other California theme parks closed in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. California Health and Human Services secretary Mark Ghaly said last week that state officials will work with theme park operators to finalize COVID-19 health and safety reopening guidelines.

“Once we have a clearer understanding of when theme parks can reopen from the State of California, we will be able to work with the state and Orange County Health Care Agency towards a reopening date,” according to Disney officials.

Orange County — home to Disneyland and Knott’s — remains in the “substantial” tier and could move into the “moderate” tier within the next few weeks.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland tests new contactless metal detectors to speed visitors through security checkpoints

Anaheim city spokesman Mike Lyster said that initial draft guidelines from the state — that he has been briefed on, but not seen — call for reopening individual California theme parks at 25% capacity once their counties reach the least-restrictive “minimal” risk level.

California theme parks have been left waiting on the sidelines while other segments of the economy have reopened under Newsom’s four-tier Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

A growing chorus of theme parks, city leaders, state lawmakers and industry associations have called on Newsom to reopen Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California and other amusement parks throughout the state.

SEE ALSO: California theme parks push back on restrictions in state’s draft reopening plan

Disney announced last week 28,000 employees will be laid off at Disneyland and Walt Disney World as the company continues to struggle with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extended closure of its Anaheim theme parks.

Disney officials laid part of the blame for the layoffs at the feet of Newsom and his administration’s failure to issue theme park reopening guidelines.

The impact of the pandemic has been “exacerbated in California by the State’s unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen,” Disney parks chairman Josh D’Amaro said in a statement.

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