The powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared its support for Assembly Bill 420 on Tuesday, which seeks to allow theme parks to reopen sooner than California Governor Gavin Newsom has allowed.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger recommended that the board endorse the bipartisan bill from Assemblymembers Sharon Quirk-Silva and Suzette Martinez Valladares. The bill would amend the state’s industry guidance to allow theme and amusement parks to open once a region is at the moderate or orange risk level rather than the lowest minimum or yellow level.
Barger sent a letter of support to the bill’s sponsors earlier this month.
“With full outdoor operations and the ability to maintain physical distance, theme parks across the country have proven they can safely reopen,” Barger wrote. “Major theme parks across the country began to reopen last summer and there have yet to be outbreaks or spread from these establishments.”
Hong Kong Disneyland will reopen – again – this Friday, February 19
Barger said that densely populated counties like Los Angeles would have a very hard time meeting the criteria for the minimal risk level of less than one COVID case per 100,000 per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of less than 2%, which which he said was not justified.
He cited a report from the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation indicating that the entertainment, gaming and recreation sector has experienced the highest percentage of job losses in the county, with more than 98% of jobs lost in the former months of the pandemic.
Most of those affected are low-income workers with an average salary of $ 32,000 a year, according to the LAEDC study.
The vote of the board was unanimous.
On February 4, California Assembly members representing districts heavily impacted by the closure of Disneyland and Six Flags Magic Mountain set out to co-sponsor a bill that will place all theme parks in the “Orange – Moderate – Level 3 “of the state Covid. -19 Industry Guidance for Amusement Parks and Theme Parks. Guidance in Governor Gavin Newsom’s Plan for a Safer Economy currently restricts reopening of theme parks until the county in which they are located achieves “Yellow – Minimum – Level 4”.
NEW: California is launching a Plan for a Safer Economy.
It is simple.
Your county will be assigned a color based on:
– Case rate
– Positivity rate
Your color determines how businesses in your county can operate.
Find your color and what is open ➡️ https://t.co/xtXFwVeWc2 pic.twitter.com/fFXR7rbtU1
– Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) August 28, 2020
Even then, the visitor limit in the parks would be 25% and indoor eating establishments could only operate at 25% of capacity. Disneyland, Magic Mountain, and Knott’s Berry Farm closed in March 2020.
Amusement park operators have long been irritated by what they saw as too restrictive the Newsom plan placed on them. They argue that there has not been a single documented case in a theme park, and the California Parks and Attractions Association presented its plan of strict virus prevention measures.
Magic Mountain in Valencia announced earlier this month that it plans to reopen this spring.
– Six Flags Magic Mountain (@SFMagicMountain) February 19, 2021
Parent company Six Flags Entertainment said in a statement that it was working “with state and government officials to set firm reopening dates for our parks in California.”
City News Service contributed to this report.