California theme parks, outdoor venues allowed to reopen once county enters red tier
LOS ANGELES - As COVID-19 case numbers continue to go down and California starts reopening, state health officials announced new guidelines for the reopening of amusement parks and other outdoor activities.
Beginning April 1, counties within the state’s red tier in the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy can reopen amusement parks and attendance at outdoor sporting events with limited capacity.
CALIFORNIA THEME PARKS
Amusement parks can reopen at 15% capacity in the red tier, however, there are strict restrictions. No indoor dining will be allowed, there will be limits to indoor rides and parks will only be accepting visitors from California.
Guests will need to purchase tickets beforehand and reservations will be made online.
RELATED: California amusement parks face 'slow and difficult' recovery after year-long closure
Los Angeles County, home to Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Orange County, home to the Disneyland Resort and Knott's Berry Farm, are both still in the most restrictive purple tier. Both could advance to the red tier by the end of March.
Friday's development marked a great day for theme park officials across Southern California. FOX 11 obtained the following statement from major theme parks based in our viewing area.
"We are pleased by the governor’s announcement and eager to welcome our guests back to Six Flags Magic Mountain with a full complement of our world-class coasters in a safe, outdoor environment. An official opening date will be posted on our website and social channels in the near future."
Universal Studios Hollywood
"This is very exciting news. We deeply appreciate the partnership with State and Local Health and Government officials, and are thrilled to have finally arrived at this milestone announcement. The health and safety of our guests and team members remain our top priority, and we’re committed to ensuring full compliance with our newly established protocols as we continue to create an exceptional entertainment experience for everyone. We are ready to reopen, ready to bring our team members back to work, ready to help stimulate the local economy and ready to welcome guests."
Karen Irwin, President and COO, Universal Studios Hollywood
"We are encouraged that theme parks now have a path toward reopening this spring, getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses and our entire community. With responsible Disney safety protocols already implemented around the world, we can’t wait to welcome our guests back and look forward to sharing an opening date soon."
Ken Potrock, President, Disneyland Resort
RETURN OF FANS IN THE STANDS
All other outdoor events, including sports stadiums, can reopen at 20% capacity if the county is in the red tier. Small and large venues in the purple tier can reopen outdoor activities with 100 people or less.
Outdoor activities in the orange tier can reopen at 33% capacity and those in the yellow tier can reopen at 67% capacity.
California divides its counties into four color-coded tiers based on the spread of the coronavirus. The red tier is the second-highest risk level.
RELATED: California governor hints sports attendance could return at outdoor stadiums
On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is having "advanced conversations" with Major League Baseball and local health authorities around California, where he expressed confidence that if COVID-19 trends continue downward, fans will be back in the seats of outdoor stadiums when baseball season begins.
He noted the downward trend of COVID-19 testing-positivity rates, along with a 43% drop in hospitalizations over the past two weeks and a 42% drop in ICU hospitalizations.
Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.