SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California health officials on Tuesday unveiled a path to reopening for theme parks and other attractions sidelined for months by the novel coronavirus, but the strict capacity guidelines outlined by the plan drew sharp criticism.
The protocols allow a large park to reopen once COVID-19 transmission in its home county falls enough for the county to reach the state’s least restrictive designation of Tier 4, while smaller parks are cleared to reopen once the home county achieves the slightly more restrictive Tier 3 status, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood are considered large theme parks, and a county must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving to a less restrictive tier, the newspaper reported.
Los Angeles County, home of Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain, is in the most restrictive tier. Orange County, home of Disneyland, Disney California Adventure Park and Knott’s Berry Farm, is in the second-most restrictive tier, the Times reported.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services, said the protocols create the reopening road map but cannot predict a precise time frame.
In addition to the home-county transmission guidelines, all parks must sell advance tickets in order to facilitate easier contact tracing; face coverings will be mandatory except when eating or drinking; and large theme parks will be limited to 25% capacity, Ghaly added.
Meanwhile, small parks will be limited to either 25% capacity or 500 visitors, whichever is fewer; can accept only visitors who live in the home county; and can operate only outdoor attractions, the Times reported.
According to KCRA, professional sporting events at outdoor venues will be able to resume with 20% capacity when a home county achieves orange-tier status, and when the county improves to yellow-tier status, capacity can be increased to 25%.
Ghaly also cleared all personal care services to resume indoor operations, including tattoo parlors, hair removal and massage businesses. This move comes weeks after salons and barbershops were approved to resume indoor services with strict modifications, the TV station reported.
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